32Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
35The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One."
36The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37and said, "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself."
38There was a written notice above him, which read:|sc THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
39One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"
40But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."
42Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
43Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
(Self portrait. January, 2009)
I love my prayer beads. I feel like I have had prayer beads in my hand since the day I was brought into the world. I have little memories of my dad's prayer beads, and of visiting Buddhist monks with those little wooden spheres wrapped around their wrists. I have always found so much peace in my sandalwood beads, and the mantra I was raised that goes along with them. My dad always told me, as a kid, to roll the beads in my hands, from one to the next and all around the necklace. While I did this, as I rolled bead to bead in my palm, I would say, "Jesus, remember me."
Jesus, remember me. Jesus, remember me. Jesus, remember me.
Did you know that this man on the cross who said that is the only man guaranteed salvation in the entire bible? He was never baptized. He never accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He never took communion. He was a criminal. Yet Jesus looked past all of these flaws, and saw his heart as this criminal looked back at him.
Jesus, remember me. I am a criminal, and I know I have no obeyed. But I have hope in you, I have faith in you.
Jesus, remember me.
I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.
God will not leave me comfortless. He knows me, he remembers me, because I know Him, and I remember Him. And I love Him with all that is in me. I roll this knowledge between my fingers with my sandalwood beads, and I repeat those three words that was said so long ago. I am overwhelmed by the simplistic beauty of God. What a mystery He is. So beyond human, that I cannot fathom the beautiful paradise he promises me. I am anticipating that day with so much happiness. Until then, I keep spinning. I keep reaching for the prize. I remember you, and you remember me.