The Second Word: “You will be with me in paradise…” (March 30, 2012)

…Opening To…

Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle; of the mighty conflict sing; tell the triumph of the victim, to his cross thy tribute bring. Jesus Christ the world’s Redeemer from that cross now reigns as King. (Venantius Honorius Fortunatus, from The Hymnal 1982)

…Listening In…

Responding, the other criminal spoke harshly to him, “Don’t you fear God, seeing that you’ve also been sentenced to die? We are rightly condemned, for we are receiving the appropriate sentence for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus replied, “I assure you that today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:40-43; context)

…Filling Up…

For the last seven devos of Lent: yesterday, today, and during Holy Week, we are encountering Christ’s seven last words from the cross. These “words” are actually full sentences, and there are three in Luke, three in John, and Matthew and Mark share one, as well (though with a slight variation). For each of the words, I have written a song; now, the songs may or may not include the sayings themselves. Rather, think of them as my response to Jesus speaking out from the cross, a place of vulnerability, shame, and torment – that Jesus turned into a place of majesty, love, and salvation.

For each song, I gave myself no more than two hours to write it and one to record it. These are by no means polished songs; they are the responses of my heart to Christ crucified. I hope that they enrich you on your Holy Week journey as they have enriched me. What follows is “Remember Me,” my response to Jesus’ second word from the cross.

(If you can’t see the music player, download the song here.)

Remember the child with the arms like twigs
Sitting in the dirt,
Remember the student going back to school
Trying on a brand new skirt,
Remember the tyrant, remember the fool,
Remember the victim of everything cruel,
Remember all those who have never been free,
And Jesus, remember me.

Remember the soldier in the chopper crash
Dying so far from home,
Remember the farmer digging in the field
Cultivating rich, dark loam,
Remember the banker, remember the thief,
Remember the mourner who is lost in her grief,
Remember all those who can never agree,
And Jesus, remember me.

Remember the patient in the ICU
Breathing by machine,
Remember the parent at the grocery store
Buying food when times are lean,
Remember the scoundrel, remember the queen,
Remember the vagrant who has never been seen,
Remember all those who from violence flee,
And Jesus, remember me.

Remember the foreman, remember the geek,
Remember the worker who makes pennies a week,
Remember all those who have their back to a wall,
And Jesus, remember all.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you are present wherever I go and in you is Paradise. Help me to see the glory all around me, even when times are dark. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, kneeling at the foot of the cross and feeling Christ’s arms of love reaching out to embrace the whole world.

One thought on “The Second Word: “You will be with me in paradise…” (March 30, 2012)

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