Monday, January 30, 2017

Reflection on Matthew 5:1-12

The whole situation was depressing. Originally, when my parents told us kids that we were moving, I was excited. We moved quite a bit when I was young, and each move was an adventure. This time appeared no different.

We were moving from the farm into town. We had never lived in town before. We were moving from dusty roads to sidewalks of pavement on a college campus where bikes could be ridden endlessly. As I said, there was a lot to be excited about.

The depression set in the second we saw our new apartment…our new home. Moving from an old farmhouse with ample room for our family of five, I was shocked to step into the two bedroom apartment where the largest room, the living room/kitchen, was no bigger than most people’s bedrooms. There was no room for even a small kitchen table. We had to eat our meals around the coffee table.

Wandering down the hall I discovered that all three of us boys would have to fit into a closet sized bedroom, with barely enough room to fit three air mattresses on the floor.

The next day at school, I found almost no one with whom I could eat a meal, except two guys who looked like they had discovered drugs by age 2.

At our new church, which was much bigger than our small family church back in Minnesota, I felt sort of forgotten that first Sunday. Feeling alone, sitting in the pew with no one welcoming our family because the church was big enough that they probably did not realize we were visitors, I stared ahead in 13 year old misery. My spirit was crushed.

Quite frankly, most of the service went by without notice. It was all droning to my 13 year old ears. However, the droning stopped with one phrase uttered by the pastor. This one phrase pierced through the misery.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Though the words were first uttered to his disciples 2000 years ago, it seemed as if the words were uttered just to me. It seemed as if God had searched through the loneliness of the world and found me, desiring to raise me out of the miry clay.

The beatitudes still pierce the loneliness of those who sit, searching for guidance and reassurance from Jesus.

Those who are struggling with losing someone special are pulled out of the darkness with the words, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Those who sit, feeling powerless in a world of deal makers and power brokers are struck that they are even remembered, "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Those who strive for a better world outside the walls of the church…which is often a lonely sort of life because most people do not wish to rock the boat...are reassured with the voice of encouragement that says, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Those who have been labeled bleeding hearts by the world find a place to call their own in the words, "Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

Those who have been chastised for naively believing that love can conquer all find a kindred spirit through the words, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Those who step away from inflammatory words find their rest on the promise, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

And, those who have been called evil or stupid for loving all that is good in the world find their home as Jesus utters, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Many of us come to the church and sit down feeling alone, but as the blessings are proclaimed, we look around the space and start to see our heavenly family.

“You have been mighty quiet throughout the service,” the older gentleman sitting next to me whispered during the offering. “I’m Gerald,” he offered a hand to shake. “Did you know we have donuts after the service? I think you need to have a donut with me.”

That is when it happened. That is the moment when a soul who was poor in spirit encountered a person of mercy. That is the moment when the blessed found a home together.

Who knew my first friend would be 59 years older than me? “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The promise was true.

That is how it works in Jesus’ kingdom. The mourners are comforted by the pure in heart, the poor in spirit are given respite by the peacemakers, and the meek are given voice by those who thirst and hunger for righteousness. Gathered together in the body of Christ, we are blessed by the gifts of one another in the kingdom of heaven.

Just this weekend, the spirits of several individuals were broken as their dreams of a new life in the land of the free and the home of the brave were stopped short at the airport. A ban on refugees and immigrants from a list of specific countries had gone into affect while they flew over the ocean. Pressing noses to the glass within the airport, freedom just a mere, transparent inch away, hope faded quickly. “Blessed are the poor is spirit, theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Though they felt alone, stranded in a no-man’s-land within the airport, they were not. God had blessed some other people. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness and justice, stuck out their own necks in the courtrooms on behalf those stranded, spirit crushed people.

For some, freedom was denied, but for a few others, the air of freedom was finally breathed as they walked onto US soil.

We are blessed by the gifts of one another in the kingdom of heaven. Rejoice and be glad! Blessed are you! Holy are you! Rejoice and be glad! Drawn to one another through blessing, Jesus gives us the kingdom of heaven.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Reflection on Matthew 4:12-23

“The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.”

The interesting thing about the properties of light is that there is no way to keep it from pushing away the darkness. Sure, you can stand in front of the light and try to block it by casting a shadow, but somehow the light always manages to bounce its way into the darkness.

Even the smallest of lights can dispel the darkness. I know this to be true. We used to have a piece of electronics in our bedroom with one of those tiny, almost imperceptible LED lights. During the daytime, the light was imperceptible, but then came the night when we would try to go to sleep. Once the other lights were off, that little light would shine like the sun and give its little green glory to every droopy-eyed person around.

The light shined in the darkness, and I can tell you, we tried lots of things to try to make the darkness overcome it. The light shined through tissues, paper, fabric, and even spread around the sides of a box we tried to use to block the gleam.

I guess what I am trying to tell you is this: when light decides to shine, it shines.

Jesus, the light of the world, has come to the land of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, a land of promise.

The land has fallen under the darkness of the Roman empire and its worldly goals, but Jesus has arrived on the scene, and the people who sit with heads held down, oppressed in the land, have seen a great light. There is nothing that is going to stop this light from shining all over the place.

You know how the biblical story goes of course; people will try to snuff out the light. Those who are opposed to Jesus’ ideals of love of neighbor, prayer for the enemy, care for the destitute, raising up of the oppressed and sick, and living simply without the trappings of stuff all try to find ways to dispose of God’s light in the land.

You know how the story goes. First, they will try to discredit him by trying to trick him into saying something incriminating. That fails.

You know how the story goes. they will try to pressure him through the consternation of his peers. That fails.

You know how the story goes. They will try to intimidate him into silence. That fails.

You know how the story goes. They will nail him to a cross.

And, yes, you know how the story goes. When he is buried in the tomb, not even the cold earth could keep the light of God from piercing through the closed eyes of a sleepy world; a world asleep to God’s radical kind of love.

God’s light in Jesus Christ, shines through the stones of the tomb and even an attempt to snuff out the source of eternal light fails.

“The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.”

Another interesting thing about the properties of God’s light (otherwise known as God’s Holy Spirit) is that it is often envisioned as fire. Different from the cool, passive light of an LED, fire spreads. It leaps from one place to another in a matter of seconds, defying those who would seek to put it out.

We see this happen right in the beginning of the story of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus calls out into the darkness for people to turn from their worldly ways in a worldly kingdom. Calling people to live a different life of simplicity, love of neighbor, and prayer for the enemy, the light starts to catch. Two fishermen, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew have the light shined on them. Like a spark falling on dry leaves, the fire of the Holy Spirit causes them to simply drop their nets and follow. The light is starts to spread, and continues to spread to this day. Can you feel it?

The light starts out as one, and then it is three. Many years have passed from then until now, but the light continues to spread, lighting the entire world with God’s kingdom of grace. It has even spread to you, right where you are.

In just a few verses Jesus is going to declare a great truth. It is a truth that sometimes we forget. It is a truth that we do not always hold close to our hearts, but it is a truth that is none-the-less true.

You are the light of the world.

You are God’s light.

You are the people who live in this place…this earthly kingdom…but act as if you live in the heavenly one.

You are the light of the world.

God’s light of love is in you, and if you get your appendages out of the way, allowing any shadows to move off to the side, that light will be clear for all who live in a land of darkness.

After-all, there is darkness in the world. People’s bodies are exploited by others and are often underpaid. People's bodies are overcome by bad influences and substances. People’s bodies are directed in ways of hate toward the stranger rather than love. People’s bodies have been taken over by the ways of the world that look to only the self.

Self first, the world says. Self only, the world screams. Love of self rings clearly from our television sets and from the billboards along our streets.

But, you are not of the world. You are in the world, but you are not of the world. You are light. You are God’s light. You are the same light that decided to die on the cross, that others might be saved.

By grace you have been saved, and this took the sacrifice of someone else, Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus Christ decided that life cannot be found in the ways of the world. Jesus Christ explicitly chose not to live in the darkness. Instead he chose to be light.

Jesus is the light of the world, and because he has called out to you, you too are the light of the world. Come, leave behind the ways of the world. Come, follow the light of the world. Come, be, be the light of the world.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Reflection on John 1:29-42

The Sunday starts out normal. You arrive at church, sit down in your usual pew, sing the familiar hymns, and even start to fall asleep in your usual spot during the sermon, somewhere between the engaging into and the nonsensical droning that always sets in at about the three minutes mark. It is a normal Sunday morning.

But, about half way through the droning and halfway into a dream about boating in the deep blue waters of the Bahamas with Darth Vader…because that is how dreams are…the pastor screams loudly, “There he is!”

You startle awake to see the pastor pointing to the back of the church. You turn and search through the sea of heads. You do not quite see what the pastor is screaming about.

Looking again at the pastor, he exclaims, “Listen, I’m just a pastor, doing my best to point my people toward the Lord, and here he is in the flesh. Look, right there is the Lamb of God! He’s come!”

You look back again and see the man standing in the back of the church. Could it possibly be true?

As if answering your thoughts, the pastor reassures, “This is the one who came before any of us and is greater than all of us. I’ve seen the Holy Spirit fall on this man. This is the Lord’s anointed. This is the Lamb of God!”

The man in the back of the church looks directly at you with his engaging eyes, summons with the tilt of the head, and starts to exit the church.

For the first time in his life, the pastor is excited to have said something so drastic that it emptied the pews of his church. Most of the congregation follows the Lord’s anointed out the door. You decide to follow also, to see what it is all about.

Who would not follow after-all? I cannot tell you the amount of times that I have heard the words, “If only Jesus were right here,” fall from the lips of the faithful. I cannot tell you the number of times that I have wished the same thing.

We have the stories of the scriptures to tell us about Jesus of course, but would it not be nice to actually be able to follow the Lord and see what he does? Would it not be nice to invite him over to your house and see how he would handle the kids climbing the furniture…just to see if you are even in the realm of doing it right?

Would it not be nice to walk the halls of school with Jesus to see how he handles the constant drama of your friends?

How would Jesus deal with your adult children and their decisions? Would it not be nice to know what Jesus would do with them?

But, beyond all of that, would it not be nice to simply be in the presence of God’s love in the flesh?

This brings us to the first question the Lord asks as we step outside the doors of the church. He turns suddenly and asks, “What are you looking for?”

Now, you know immediately that this is not a question about the wallet you lost the other day. In his eyes you see that this is a deeper question that means something like: “What are you seeking?” “What do you hope to find?” “What do you long for?”

So I am actually asking you as you read this: what do you long for? What are you seeking whenever you come to the house of the Lord? What do you hope to find? Of course this is a question that is answered at a more profound level than, “I hope to find some good music.” What is your heart searching for when you come to the house of the Lord? Go ahead and keep the answer in you mind.

Now, I cannot read your mind, but I already know that a lot of the responses probably have something to do with being nearer to Jesus, or growing in faith with Jesus. This is not so far off of the mark of the question one of the people asks the Lamb of God just outside of the church door.

“Where are you staying?” the woman at your right shoulder asks. This is not a practical question of location your realize as you see the yearning in her eyes. What she is really asking is, “How can we be near you?” That is your question too, “Jesus, how can I be near you? How can I know you? How can we follow you?”

I just want to point out how personal and relational this all is. Almost no one asks, “Jesus how can we memorize more of your amazing theological precepts.” No, what we are asking is more along the line of the ancient Israelite people who desired to have the law of God written on their hearts. We desire to have God’s love and wisdom so close to us that it cannot be forgotten among the shopping lists and homework assignments that seem to consume most of our lives.

“Jesus, how can I be near you and know you?” you blurt out echoing the woman’s question. Jesus turns to you, smiles as small smile, and gives the simplest, but most perfect response: “Come and see.”

The answer is actually, absolutely perfect. It lands lightly on your soul.

It requires no bible study preparation or confirmation memorization. It requires no facades of perfection, nor does it drip in any way of moral requirements of right and wrong like a moral physical exam before you call play ball on Jesus' team. None of that is there. It is a simple invitation to even the most messed up people on the face of the earth.

“Jesus, how can we be near you and know you more?”

“Just, come and see.”

Sometimes I wonder if we in the church make this all a little more complicated than it actually is.

One time I was asked about my faith by a coworker as we scraped rust together in the hold of an old dredge boat. He truly desired to know more and wanted a faith community in which to place his feet, so-to-speak.

I recall trying my best to articulate my faith in some sort of coherent string of sentences. I recall trying my best to answer him correctly. And, I recall trying my best and failing completely.

The scriptures say that the Holy Spirit will give you the right words, but I am pretty sure I was ignoring the right ones at that moment.

I could see in the glazed look on his face that my rambling answer was not the answer for which he was looking. He did not want the right answer. He did not want the profound statement that would rock his world. In the end, all he wanted was Jesus. All he needed me to say was, “Come and see.”

“Come and see,” Jesus says.

“Come and see the life I have to offer.

Come and see the love I have to share.

Come and see the forgiveness that can be yours.”

So, go ahead and come. Find your life in the risen Lord.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Reflection on Matthew 3:13-17

After Jesus’ baptism, he is immediately driven into the wilderness.

Now, when most of us consider the wildernesses of life, we usually think about particularly rough times when we struggled; such as when the diagnosis of cancer was given. Those are times we feel driven in to the wilderness, alone.

Or we think of the times our friends abandoned us and we felt deserted in life.

We consider our wilderness moments times that are particularly rough, where the normal movements of the day are shaken to their core.

However, when I read of Jesus' time spent in the wilderness, I find that he was tempted by everyday things. He was tempted with materialism (turning stones into bread). This is nothing new to us. Products call out to us to trust in their worth all of the time. This is not a particularly rough experience in life unless you have anxiety whenever you walk around a grocery store end cap.

Notice that Jesus encountered the temple (God’s house) in the wilderness. There, he is asked to make God bend to his will. People claiming that God, or “the truth,” is on their side is hardly a rare occurrence.

And, the temptation to conquer a mountain and use that new found self-confidence to control others is not typically what we consider a wilderness moment.

In fact, all of these things that tempt Jesus in the wilderness are common, everyday sorts of temptations.

That leads me to believe that the wilderness is simply life; just plain old, everyday life. Our daily existence is one of wilderness wandering where a snake can snap at our feet any moment. Our daily existence is one where a product, such as hand cream, will lure you in with its mesmerizing label, asking you to trust that with moisturized hands your children will suddenly get along and want to go on a nice bike ride in the park with you, making life-long memories. I only I had some hand cream!

I mention the nature of temptations and the daily existence of the wilderness, because it is the place into which Jesus is going to enter after his baptism. After his baptism, Jesus will enter into…well…our life…our everyday wilderness life where one can be easily turned from God’s ways without even realizing it.

If Jesus gets baptized before entering into our everyday wilderness wandering life, there must be something special about his baptism that is sufficient enough to prepare him. Take a look at Jesus' baptism. What about it prepares him to enter into everyday life and not get pulled into the temptations of things, control, and power?

For Jesus, it certainly is not any sort of forgiveness found in baptism that prepares him. We bristle at the idea that Jesus would have needed forgiveness, and even John the Baptist has a problem baptizing Jesus on this note. But, Jesus answers John that the reason for his baptism is “to fulfill all righteousness.”

In words that we who live everyday lives can understand, Jesus says that he is to be baptized so that he might finally be who God meant him to be.

As soon as he comes up from the waters, small streams dribbling down his face, the spirit descends on him like a dove and a voice tears open the heavens and declares, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

Beloved. In that one word is wrapped up all that Jesus is and who he is going to be: Beloved.

Jesus is God’s beloved. Jesus is committed to being God’s beloved. Jesus will go from the waters, out into the wilderness...out into everyday life...and act as God’s beloved. If you ever wanted to know what God’s love looks like, you will look right at Jesus. He is the beloved. Beloved is his name.

Names. Jesus walks out into the world with the name “beloved” and that means something.

Albers is my last name, of course. So, just out of curiosity, I looked up what Albers means so that I might know the name with which I am walking around.

Technically, in the German, it means Albert’s son, but that does not get to its fullest meaning. It is composed of grammatical elements that mean “noble,” “bright,” and “famous.” In short, Albers means: “one who is famously Academic.” So, if I start using unpronounceable and incomprehensible words such as ecclesiology, or worse, antidisestablishmentarianism you know why.

In Blair Nebraska, where I grew up in my High School years, Albers meant those things and more. You see, my Uncle was a beloved pastor in the town for years. Thus, in the town of Blair, Albers came to mean: “smart, compassionate, slow to anger, and willing to listen,” because that was the type of guy that my uncle was.

So, when I stumbled into town as a teenager, I came in with a little automatic respect by association. People assumed that I was a smart kid. People assumed that I was a nice kid. People assumed that I was someone to be trusted. People were willing to give an Albers a free haircut, and once I even got a break while purchasing some ice cream. It was nice to have the name Albers.

But, with the name also came an expectation: an Albers was expected to be “smart, compassionate, slow to anger, and willing to listen.” Being an Albers was more than a tag for family recognition, it was an identity that meant something. It was an identity to which we were expected to live up.

“Beloved” is the same way. With the name “Beloved,” Jesus became committed to God’s ways of love, mercy, forgiveness, and peace. As he enters the wilderness of everyday life, he allows his name to be his guide. When Jesus encounters us out in the wilderness of life, we can expect to experience love that is committed to us in a holy way.

That is what baptism does after-all. It tells us who Jesus is, and it tells us to whom we belong.

As baptized people, we wander into a town where Jesus has already been, bearing his name. We belong to him.

It offers some benefits by association of course. In many places we are given a little automatic respect while we bear Jesus’ name. We are assumed to be loving, forgiving, and merciful people. Many people trust those who bear the name of Christ to be honest people to whom a job can be given. Many people trust those who bear the name of Christ to watch over their children. And, heck, at one Midwestern hotel chain, you can even get a discount on a room if you can provide proof of church membership.

But at the same time, bearing the name of Jesus, the beloved, also gives us an identity that guides us through the wilderness of everyday life. When we are tempted by the materialism and the power of the world, we have an identity that guides us away from these things.

We are a people of love, forgiveness, and mercy, and those traits guide us in all of our decisions.

We are a people who belong to the one who ate with the sinner, searched for the lost, and died for the world. We are a people who belong to the one who loves the sinner to the bitter end on the cross and raises the sinner up with him on the third day. We are a people who follow the beloved. We bear the name of Christ as the marks of water still glimmer on our heads even to this day.

Bret, a friend from High School, had secured a great job on Wall Street. His future was bright and his bank account was growing quickly. He had a nice car and seemed to have it made.

For those reasons, we were surprised when Bret quit his job and came back home. I asked him why he left such a secure life. His answer was simple. “It wasn’t me,” he said. “I am a person of faith, and I found none of God’s love in that life, so I left.” It was a simple as that. He was a child of the Beloved, and he desired to live that way.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Reflection on Matthew 2:13-23

We will not forget.

It was the cutest thing in the world. While my two year old daughter, Ember, relaxed in my arms on Christmas Eve, drifting towards sleep while staring at the lights on the Christmas tree, she whispered to me the question, “Christmas here?” “Yes Ember, Christmas is here. “Baby Jesus, Christmas presents?” “Yes, it’s Jesus’ birthday and tomorrow we open Christmas presents.” With a smile on her face, she faded into dreams that made her giggle in her sleep.

It was one of the sweetest, purest moments of joy I have ever seen. I did not think that I could possibly love that little girl any more, but I was wrong. With that expression of pure joy, my heart latched onto her even tighter. I will not forget that moment. I will not forget.

There are other moments, of course. Like the other day when Ember asked two year old Mavis to play ring-around-the-rosy and Mavis said, “No.” Unfazed, Ember joyfully spun on the floor by herself singing, “Ring around rosy, pocket posy, ashes, ashes, fall down self!” I am not going to forget that moment either. I will not forget.

Moments like that capture your heart and drive you, as a parent, to do anything for your child.

If foreign military tanks were to roll over the eastern hills this very moment, destroying all in their path, I would do anything to keep any of the little ones in my care safe. Like Joseph, I would flee with the little ones held close, through the wilderness, to a foreign land if need be in order to provide them a future…in order to keep them safe…in order to give them a life.

I cannot even fathom forgetting them and fleeing myself. I will not forget. We will not forget.

That is the choice that parents around the world are still forced to make. Following in the footsteps of Joseph, with children holding tight to their hearts, parents flee governments and mobsters who do not care.

Fleeing from modern day Herods, dads and moms hold their little ones close as bombs fall on areas of Syria.

Like the Israelite people fleeing Egypt who feared the ruthless leader of their time, families today gather on flimsy boats in the Mediterranean, hoping the sea will deliver them safely to dry land.

Teenage girls in South American countries like Guatemala are sent by parents who spend their life savings on a dangerous passage of terror in the hopes of getting them across the borders of the United States, away from the gangs at home that would invade their houses and rape the girl's young bodies.

The possibility of facing United States extradition courts are well worth the extra time bought to save their lives and save their bodies.

All of this is done in order to preserve the lives of those children who have given their parents memories like when Mavis folded her hands for the first time at dinner and prayed, “Come Lord our guest, gifts us blessed Amen,” or when a four year old little Trinity took to the pulpit after church and proclaimed her first sermon to an audience of one, “All have sinned, Jesus says come back.”

We do not forget those things. We do not forget our children. We will not forget.

Even when tragedy strikes, as we see in the pages of the bible, God will not let the faithful forget a single one of these children.

When Herod discovered that the wise men had deceived him, and not given him the location of the future Messiah who would be a threat his family’s power, Herod sent soldiers out and slaughtered every child age two and under.

To the powers of the world, children are expendable pawns in a greater game. Not so with God!

Every single life is precious to God. Every single life was crafted and sculpted by the Almighty as clay in the hands of an artist. And, when that life is taken away too early, God boldly declares that God will not forget. God does not forget even a single hair of their heads. God does not forget, and neither will we.

The powers of the world want us to focus on the greater significance and dismiss the collateral damage for the greater goods. God does not turn a blind eye so easily.

Jesus asks us directly, "What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?” God does not forget even a single one of us. Even when we wander, God will find us. Since God does not forget God's children, neither will the people of God.

So, when God directs us to remember the slaughter of the children and to remember that "A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more" we will not turn a deaf ear. We will still mourn 2000 years later for those very children who did not get a chance to run away from their parents naked after their baths. We will mourn for them because children are not pawns to be played with by political leaders or anyone else for that matter. They are God’s gift. We will not forget.

When we read that 50,000 children have been bombed and shelled to death in Syria, we will not act as the world does and say, “That is just the way it is over there, nothing to be done.”


Each of those 50,000 children had their lives stolen from them. And, even more children 6 years and younger have no idea what a life without war, grief and bloodshed even looks like. Their innocence has been stolen.

We will not forget them. We will weep with Rachel for every single one of them because they are no more. We will not forget.

The people of God do not forget. We do not forget evil. We do not forget the corruption of power. And, we certainly do not forget the gifts that God have given to us, the children of the world who have been taken away too soon.

I may not be able to do anything directly except to influence my own national leaders, but by-golly I will not forget. We will grieve, we will make sure it does not happen here, and we will not forget. God does not forget. We will not forget.

A two year old boy and his 5 year old twin sisters run around the dinner table, giggling as they play the simple game of chase in Allentown, Pennsylvania. They do so with food in their bellies donated to them by the local people of God. The refugee family from Syria has been shown by God a place of peace and love…a safe haven from corrupt rulers that do not care about their children. The children now run, and sing, and memories are made while falling asleep, staring at the night lights.

Not all children find safety, but none are forgotten. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.” And, so they come. Either in life or in death they come, because not a one is forgotten. God does not forget. We will not forget. Love never forgets.