Jesus said, “They will ridicule him, spit on him, torture him, and kill him. After three days, he will rise up.” – Mark 10:34 (CEB)
Am I the only one who’s afflicted with Memory Omission? Don’t consult Dr. Internet because I just made up the term. Nonetheless, I’m quite familiar with it as I regularly (un)intentionally forget things that are otherwise easily remembered. This is especially true when there’s a looming undesirable ahead that’s persistently awaiting my attention.
The omission works temporarily as I go about my business having elected to block space in my brain for what I’m avoiding. Then when the thing can no longer be ignored, my omitted memories resurface, and all the previously neglected moments retrospectively illuminate my affliction. The replay also heightens my anxiety and regret for the now-shortened time to respond.
If the disciples were anything like me in this regard, their Memory Omission would’ve actively begun scrubbing away as Jesus listed the upcoming violence leading up to his death. The erasure would have been both subtle and too loud to hear the promise in that last sentence: that he would rise again after the longest three days of their lives.
Even now as we navigate the violence and death-dealing around us during this Lenten season, perhaps even omitting memories as an act of survival, let’s pause long enough to catch Jesus’ embedded promises of life overcoming death. Let us also know with our whole selves that we are never alone in the struggles we face. Feel that truth all the way down to the blood traveling through your body.
Lest we omit, it is the same God-bearing blood that will soon bleed out onto the cross.
Give us the audacity and strength to withstand what is undesirable so we can hear and embrace your life-giving promises on the other side. Amen.
The Rev. Phiwa Langeni is the Ambassador for Innovation & Engagement of the United Church of Christ. They are also the Founder of Salus Center, the only LGBTQ resource and community center in Lansing, MI.