Have you ever been asked a question that starts with “Did you remember…”? I know that I have, my wife says not so much, but perhaps that’s because she is the one asking me those questions… Remembering is an important concept in my household. I have to remember to take all the things I need with me to work and to do my jobs around the house. My boys have to remember to bring home their homework and do their chores. In fact, remembering is so important that we even have these little sticky-notes stuck in strategic places around the house for my kids so that they don’t forget… to remember… I think it also helps to save my wife’s voice…
Christ has also given us the task of remembering. In Luke 22:19 Christ distributes the bread of the Passover meal. As Christ distributes the bread he says to His disciples:
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.” (Luk 22:19 NIV)
Do this in remembrance of me, do this to remember me.
Of course remembering means different things to different people. When we hear the word ‘remember’ a couple of concepts usually spring to mind. To remember is either to recall something that was done in the past or perhaps the idea of not forgetting to do something in the future. But was that what Christ was saying here? Did Christ simply want us to remember Him and what He has done for us?
This call to remember that Christ gives us was a very Jewish concept. It was at this Passover meal that they looked back at the Exodus to solidify their unity as a community and the events that forged them together as a people. This remembrance comes from that same Jewish concept and is not only a call to remember the sacrifice that Christ made to clear the way to God but also to remember the unity of those that identify with His death.
In fact “Remembering” is a concept that is seen in numerous places in Scripture.
In Genesis God remembered Noah and Abraham. God remembered Hannah. In Jeremiah 31 God states that he will not remember our sins. In each of these instances remembering is not simply a mental task, recalling a past event. When God remembered Noah the flood waters receded. When God remembered Abraham He saved Lot. When God remembered Hannah he gave her a child. When God states that he will not remember our sins it means that he will not condemn us for them.
Remembering is not only recalling, but it is also acting! In fact, Paul makes this even clearer for us in 1 Corinthians 10:16 when he says:
Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? (1Co 10:16 NIV)
Now there is much more going on here with the argument that Paul is presenting to the church in Corinth but the point that we can take out of it here today is that breaking bread together at the Lord’s table is a participation, from the Greek Koinonia, which is better translated as ‘fellowship’. Is not the bread that we break a fellowship in the body of Christ? When we participate in the breaking of bread it is not only a time for us to remember Christ and what He has done for us, it is also a time to celebrate the unity and fellowship that we have with each other, it is a time to celebrate the communion that we have with God. We are being called to be active participants in that unity and communion. We are indeed called to remember the sacrifice that Christ made for us but it is much more than that. Remembering is meant to refocus us on what unites us and to recall the life of sacrifice we are called to live. Remembering is meant to make us act, to act on that life of sacrifice and to serve Him faithfully in this new life that He has obtained for us through the ultimate sacrifice.
Grace & Peace,