Forget Me Nots
“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind.” – Genesis 9:13-15
As a young child I loved visiting my great grandmother (aka GG Mama). She kept a drawer of simple toys for my visits and always baked something sweet and delicious. My parents visited with her while I basked in the safety and love of her home.
As I grew older the visits changed though. GG Mama began to get confused about people and time. GG Mama often thought that my mother, her granddaughter, was in fact her long deceased daughter. This meant I was a stranger in GG Mama’s mind. I was forgotten. Our visits, our conversations over her chocolate graham cracker treats, the special toy drawer, all of it was sunk in the flood of her illness. At first, we would to try to explain again our family tree. But our explanations only seemed to confuse and frustrate her. We were at a loss.
No one wants to feel forgotten.
The desire to be remembered has driven women and men from every age to accomplishments both grand and villainous. Even for monarchs and heroes, legacy is uncertain. We have struggled against this and tried to create lasting records of ourselves with time capsules, buildings brandishing our name, or sharing our lives online so that we might be seen, known, and remembered.
Yet despite our best efforts to construct lasting memorials, the sense of feeling alone and adrift is still an all too common cost of being human. In these wilderness moments we wonder, has the creator abandoned creation? Has God forgotten me?
It is to this question that the rainbow speaks. The rainbow is a sign that God has and will remember us. God will remember his covenant, his promise,
God’s remembrance is the tipping point of the flood story. “The water prevailed upon the earth…But God remembered Noah and all that were with him in the ark; and God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water subsided.” (8:1). This was the turning point from chaos to re-creation, it is pivotal in the story and in our lives. To claim that we are known and remembered by God, changes everything. It is foundational for our identity as followers of God.
The good news is that the Holy One remembers and the waters of chaos cannot cut the faithfulness of God.
Our memories aren’t the best and probably aren’t as good as we like to think they are. We only preserve a fraction of our days. The memory of God, however, holds all of life.
My memories of GG Mama, the love I received from her was not lost in her illness and will not vanish even in my death, because we are held wholly in the memory of God.
We are saved from the fear of being forgotten because we have been known from eternity and will be remembered by the eternal.