My wife does not allow me to go to the grocery without a list, if there are more than two items on that list. She knows from experience I may or may not remember everything on the longer list. Remembering is not easy. It takes effort. I sometimes joke that my phone and laptop are the halves of my brain which actually remember things. I set appointment alarms and write task lists. It takes effort to remember.
The effort to remember is the reason for Memorial Day. It is a national holiday to honor those who have died in military service. It is a reminder that our freedoms are not free. Some have paid the ultimate price. It is appropriate to remember. But even with a national holiday, it takes effort to remember. It would be easy to grill out, enjoy recreation, and take advantage of Memorial Day sales and still not remember why we have a day called Memorial Day. There is a reason that human beings write histories and create memorials. It is too easy to forget.
The effort to remember is also the reason for the Lord’s Supper. There is a reason why Jesus instructed the apostles: do this in remembrance of me (Luke 22:19, 1 Corinthians 11:24). People forget without memorials.
Jesus instituted a very simple memorial. He took two very common things: bread and fruit of the vine. He gave them meanings.
This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me…. This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. (1 Corinthians 11:24-25, ESV)
I suspect that I need this weekly memorial more than I realize. It is a time of reflection and examination. In this simple act, we as community proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes again. This reminder within the fellowship of the church helps me stay on course in my daily walk, because Christianity is an ongoing relationship:
- I need to pick up my cross daily and follow Jesus (Luke 9:23).
- I need to continually consider myself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11).
- I need to put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit. (Romans 8:13).
- I need to keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25).
Memorials serve an important purpose. Make the effort to remember!