Remembering in a different way

A meditation on communion, forgiveness and reconciliation's labor, inspired by Isaiah 43:16-21

by Ken Sehested

I had a dream. We were in Sunday’s circle, settled in our motley gaggle of chairs, some fabric, some stained; some vinyl, some torn,

Huddled ’round an ordinary, store-bought Formica-topped table, of folding legs, covered in cloth and adorned with host and cup and candles burning,

Lit in remembrance of ones dear but too-long absent,

The table sporting an array of carefully chosen, yard-grown flowers, always simple, always beautiful, Sunday after Sunday gathered without prompting, without fanfare or needed attention,

By one with an eye for delight, a gift for the people of God, Next to a woven basket collecting gifts to support the buena lucha, the beautiful struggle,

That the world might know: Life need not be secured by strangling,

But is a gift well beyond what is owed, exceeding by far what is due.

Youngest toddle, confidently, to the table as oldest wobble, carefully—with every age and body shape joining the parade.

Then a voice spoke—not so much a voice as a radiance.

I, not being fluent in the language of radiance, can only hint at what was being uttered. It was something like:

“At this table of remembrance, the Blessed One is at work disremembering your soiled and sullied moments, saying, Won’t you join me in disremembering the slights you still clutch?”

“Behold, I am doing a new thing, beyond your wildest dreams and favored calculations!”

In forgiving, we do not forget; we remember in a different way.*

Violation cannot be undone. But with time, wisdom, and care of a Good Shepherd, its poison can be drained, its tear stitched, its trauma calmed, its power annulled.

©Ken Sehested @
*Quote from Fr. Robert Schreiter, The Ministry of Reconciliation: Spirituality and Strategies