The Gift of Remembrance
Most of us find it far easier to forget than to remember. That is why nations feel the need to build war memorials, monuments, and museums—so that, as generation follows generation, the significance of an event is not lost over time. Thus we often hear the phrase “Lest we forget.”
Many times throughout the Bible the people of God are called to remember events and put in place certain memorials to aid with that recollection. When the Israelites crossed the Jordan into the promised land, Joshua gave instructions to set up stones in the middle of the river. It likely seemed a strange thing to do, but Joshua told the people that it was to be a sign: “When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever” (Joshua 4:6-7). Simply looking at these stones would help God’s people recall His faithfulness and provision as He led them into the spacious land He had promised and prepared for them.
Centuries later, as the book of Esther explains, Mordecai established Purim—the Feast of Lots—in order to commemorate “the days on which the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday” (Esther 9:22). The Jews were to rejoice in their deliverance by sending provision to one another as an indication of God’s kindness and as a way of passing on some of His generosity to those who needed God’s gracious compassion.
We, too, are given a practice of memorialization. Jesus not only bore the punishment we deserved and opened the way for us to enjoy eternal life, but He also gave to His followers a simple meal to help us remember what He has done. Every time we celebrate the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, we do so in remembrance of Jesus, who has faithfully provided our salvation and has turned our sorrow into gladness. If we don’t celebrate the feast—if we don’t keep this memorial as part and parcel of our history—then we lose the ability to reflect upon eternal realities. Indeed, it is as we share in the Lord’s Supper and remember His death and the feast that we are invited to in glory that the Spirit feeds our hearts, strengthening our faith.
The Lord’s Supper must never become a dry ritual, something we perform just because it is what we do. It must always point us away from itself, and away from ourselves, to the great rescue at the cross. And in between our celebrations of the Supper, we are still called to remember, for the more we call Jesus’ loving atoning death to mind, the more we will remember who we are and whose we are, and the more joyful and worshipful we will be. So, how will you remember today that you have a Lord whose body was broken for you?
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
23For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for5 you. Do this in remembrance of me.”6 25In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
Get the Program, Devotional, and Bible Reading Plan delivered daily right to your inbox.