I’m blaming menopause. It’s seems like the perfect excuse to explain my forgetfulness these days. But today, a scene unexpectedly emerged with crystal clarity from my long-term memory. I remember how it had caught me off guard while dining with my son, Nate, on a hillside in the quaint village of Manarola on the coast of northern Italy. With the brilliant sunset complete, I turned to gaze at the darkened sky and was immediately captivated by a vision on the horizon.
There, etched into the mountainside, were the scenes of The Last Supper and The Stations of the Cross. It was mid-April, so Easter was behind us. But the scene remained and held its prominent position beyond the season, retelling the story daily to locals and visitors. It was a vibrant, artistic display of Jesus’ suffering and death – a visual reminder of God’s love, a love that truly suffered.
Then, just two days ago on Good Friday, Traders Point Pastor Petie Kinder summed that truth up perfectly when he said, “God’s love is not a soft abstract concept, it’s a strong, concrete statement made by the death of Jesus.” Scripture confirms it in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Unfortunately, if the past repeats itself, by the time the last colored Easter egg is found I will begin to forget Petie’s message. This is probably why he warned us, “Find a way to remind yourself every day of God’s love for you.” I need that reminder as my mind and days get jammed with activities, appointments, to do lists, and work. I will get distracted. My schedule will be busy.
It strikes me now that maybe the Italians have already figured this out (or maybe they heard Petie’s sermon via the live stream!) Not only do they have Jesus’ final days displayed on a mountain, there are crosses in the middle of country roads, shrines in neighborhoods, and village church steeples dotting the landscape. When we were there, whether biking the countryside, visiting beautiful cathedrals, or wandering through remote villages, there was a reminder at every turn.
And so today, Easter Sunday, here is your reminder – God loves you today, tomorrow, and all the days of your life. May all of us who believe remember the message of Easter all year long. Or maybe, if my menopause gets worse, I may just have to return to Italy where it’s impossible to forget!