Remember and LIVE!

9/11/01 – I still remember the spot in the church sanctuary where I was sitting in a meeting of pastors when I was called to the phone. My son’s panicked voice told me that something awful was happening in NYC. The ‘awful’ turned into the unimaginable as that day went on and we learned about the tragic loss of 3000 lives. America changed! I remember with deep emotions to this day. 

“A day that will live in infamy” was what President Franklin D. Roosevelt called 12/7/1941, the day that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. It was a defining day for people in my grandparents’ generation. America entered World War 2 and lives were put upside down for the next 4 years.

My parents’ generation can tell you where they were on 11/22/1963 – the day when America’s young President, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in Dallas, TX. His untimely death started an era of social upheaval in America that stretched through the remaining part of that decade. 

Americans need to ponder these memories, and more, while we live through the year that is 2020, looking for lessons, learning resilience. This year, I believe, will be seen in the future as one that changed our nation much like those days mentioned a moment ago. How will we choose to respond? Will our choices be reactionary and costly, or will we choose to be proactive, seeking positive changes?  

Keep this in mind –  our memories lay the foundation on which the future rests.  Memories shape us – in faith, in values, and can provoke reactions – good and bad in us.
We cannot live in the past but we must remember.

Let me shift focus today to the act of worship that unites Christians, a perpetual moment of memory instituted by Jesus. On the night before He went to the Cross, He sat at Passover dinner with His disciples and when He passed the Cup and the Bread He said –“Do this in remembrance of me!”   As we share Communion, it is to take us back to the Cross when everything changed for humanity. We were reconciled to God, our Father/Creator, restored to eternal life. We must never forget the wonderful gift of our salvation.

How easily we fall into the familiar patterns, hearing the words, taking the bread and the cup, without really remembering. Let’s come together at that moment expecting an encounter with the Presence of the Lord, inviting our heart and mind to be touched by the Mystery of faith, changed. Christians interpret the ‘how’ and ‘what’ of Communion somewhat differently, but we can all agree that it a critically important part of our faith that ought to be entered into with reverence. 

How many times have we heard these words? “So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. … if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself.” (1 Corinthians 11:27, 29, NLT)  If slip into unthinking ritual, without faith and love for that which should bless, we insult the grace and love of God.  Oh, Lord, help us to remember, to worship, and to receive what You prepare for us.

Do you remember?  “When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”  After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” (Luke 22:14-20, NIV)

When we hold the Bread and Cup, we look back, we look up, then we look forward. We renew our faith in the Covenant of Grace, that gift that transforms us from death to life, from sinner to saint.

I remember, will you?
The blessed body of Jesus, broken for me! 
The precious life of Jesus offered for me! 

As much as we love the new and the novel, we cannot, we must not ever forget the ancient, yet ever new, story of amazing love.


And Can It Be

(Worship with this amazing hymn of remembering!)

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood
Died He for me who caused His pain
For me who Him to death pursued

Amazing love how can it be
That Thou my God shouldst die for me

He left His Father’s throne above
So free so infinite His grace
Emptied Himself of all but love
And bled for Adam’s helpless race

‘Tis mercy all immense and free
For O my God it found out me

Amazing love how can it be
That Thou my God shouldst die for me

No condemnation now I dread
Jesus and all in Him is mine
Alive in Him my living Head
And clothed in righteousness divine

Bold I approach th’eternal throne
And claim the crown through Christ my own

Amazing love how can it be
That Thou my God shouldst die for me

Charles Wesley © Words: Public Domain

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