15 The Lord answers, “Can a woman forget the baby she nurses?
Can she feel no kindness for the child to which she gave birth?
Even if she could forget her children,
I will not forget you.
16 See, I have written your name on my hand.
November is the month of remembering.
We started with All Saints Day and remembering those who have gone before us, great and small. Traditionally we have thought about those who have been martyred for their faith, but it is about recognising and remembering all who are doing good and living out the faith in our world, past and present.
Then we had Bonfire Night and remembering Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder plot. Though the fireworks have been going off for weeks so no chance of forgetting that! But do we remember the plots to overthrow governments in our world today and that politics and protests are part of life, something some give their lives for still?
Remembrance Sunday follows, when we honour those who have given and continue to give their lives for others. We join the chorus of “We will remember them”, but for how long? One day? Once a year? And does our remembering reach as far as the ex-soldier in prison because they cannot cope with all that war has made them remember, so struggled to live.
Memory of course is something we should not take for granted, especially as we hear of the increase in those suffering from dementia. We never know how long our memories will last. One aid that is suggested may help us to remember is that of tying a piece of string around our finger. A constant reminder of what we must not forget. Isaiah encourages us by assuring us that God does not have us tied around his finger, but does have our names engraved on his hand. Even if the intimate bond of a parent and child can be forgotten, God will never forget each of us.
The question is, how good are we at remembering each other?
A modern parable tells of a mouse who feared for his life after the farmer bought a mousetrap. The mouse called a meeting and proclaimed “There is a mousetrap in the house!” but the hen just clucked and said, “it has no consequences for me.” The pig sympathised with the mouse saying there was nothing they could do but would pray for the mouse. The cow said “It is nothing I can be bothered with, I have more important things to do.”
But that night the mouse trap struck and caught a snake. The snake then bit the farmer’s wife and the known treatment for snake bites was chicken soup and so the farmer sacrificed the chicken. In her illness friends and neighbours came to visit and the farmer needed to feed them. The bacon and ham from the pig was delicious. Finally, the wife died and so for the funeral the fatted cow was slaughtered to feed them all.
And the mouse remembered what they had said.
May we remember those who have issues in life and remember those issues can have consequences for us all. May we be those who continue to remember and give our lives to bring goodness in this world.
May we remember God will never forget us, or the many others whose names are written on his hands. May that bring us comfort and challenge.