Remembering the Forgotten

By Eileen Turner of Portland, Oregon, USA

God, the Eternal Creator, weeps for the poor, displaced, mistreated, and diseased of the world because of their unnecessary suffering. Such conditions are not God’s will. Open your ears to hear the pleading of mothers and fathers in all nations who desperately seek a future of hope for their children. Do not turn away from them. For in their welfare resides your welfare.  Doctrine and Covenants 163:4a

Each year during Holy Week I feel privileged to attend a memorial service at the Downtown Chapel in Portland. It always falls on my volunteer day, when I visit people in single-room-occupancy hotels. These are people who have become lost to their families or have become socially marginal.

An interfaith group organized by Operation Nightwatch puts together a memorial service for all those we know have died in the last year. Over time, many names that appear on the list are friends I have visited. Some die homeless on the street, some are victims of violence, and some suffer from poor personal choices and habits.

The service incorporates Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, and Native American traditions. There is time for sharing, grieving, weeping, laughing, and memories. I find it appropriate that during this week, as we remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can come together to share in the lives of the dead and the living in a meaningful way.

It says to those remaining that “you are not forgotten; you mean something to someone; you are to be honored and respected.” Christ often was found among the socially marginal. He lived a radical compassion without thought to how he appeared to the elite and educated.

In a beautiful rendition of an Appalachian gospel song, “I Want Jesus to Walk with Me,” the spirit of the message was that I would be safe and protected as long as I was about God’s work. The forgotten and socially marginal are all around us and need whatever ministry we can offer.

Prayer for Peace:

Comfort of sufferers, may we seek and find those who need to be comforted. Where it is needed, let us work for justice and share the peace of Christ.

Spiritual Practice:

Sit where you can hear the sound of water—a fountain, stream, or the sea. Pray for God’s blessing on all the parched places where there is injustice, oppression, or violence. Pray for God’s justice to be released and imagine it flowing over the Earth, restoring righteousness and wholeness. Now, get up and drink a glass of clear, cold water as you pray, “God, let your justice flow through me as a disciple of the Lord Jesus.”

Peace Covenant:

I will go to the uncomfortable margins and beyond to relieve suffering.

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