Remember me, O my God, for good.
There is something haunting about reading an ancient document like Nehemiah as the memoir of a man setting his story down in the sight of God and asking to be “remembered for good.” It is the same as walking through an English graveyard and seeing all the centuries-old tombstones briefly chronicling the life of stranger after stranger, whose whole existence is summed up for remembrance by God in a line or two. So many people, and so many of them anonymous: lost now to all human memory forever. It is sobering to think that all the people who so occupy everybody’s minds today — the Clintons, Bushes, Madonnas, Backstreet Boys, Tom Cruises, Ted Turners, and all the rest of the folk whose name is up in lights at the moment — will someday be as forgotten and obscure as virtually all of Nehemiah’s contemporaries. Only God will remember them. And for most of us, time will make history and fading memory of us far sooner. After all, how much do you remember about your great-grandmother? Remember us, O God, for good.