Remembering is a vital Christian discipline that is either ignored or taught in an off-handed, casual manner. Most of us know that routine thinking is defined by psychologists as remembering what happened in the past and rehearsing how we would change it if we could relive the event. Perhaps that is the reason why Christians disregard the command of Jesus to “do this to remember me.”
Why should such a common event as remembering become a Christian disciple? But isn’t God the redeemer of all things, especially those events and objects which we take for granted, find most common or deem less valuable.
Our memories are an essential part of who we are. Family events often mean sitting around the table rehearsing past joys and sorrows. We laugh again and again at Uncle Billy’s comment about Vero Beach. We delight in Tarah’s antics telling about the ordeal of preparing for her husband’s deployment to Afghanistan. We use our dinner napkins to wipe away the tears when our laugher turns to piercing loneliness as we joke about Mama’s long, convoluted prayers that each year kept us from eating our Thanksgiving dinner until it was cold.
We know that these are times of joyful sorrow that make our hearts grow with love and appreciation for each other. Yet, that experience is not often shared among the church family. One of the highlights of my Christian life was when The Tabernacle Church of Melbourne hosted their 25th anniversary dinner. It was a time of remembering and sharing the joys and hidden sorrows of a congregation that had grown into a family.
I believe that communion was to be more than a ritualistic handing out of the cup and bread. It was to be more than the sharing of the “host.” It was to be a time of true remembrance and celebration.
Of course, there are times that our hearts are filled with the cares and concerns of our world. We approach communion with a need for more time, more energy and more resources. We don’t have the time, energy or resources to “rehearse” that joyful night which ushered in the heart-bending sorrow of a crucified Savior.
Working in the mentally challenged community for 24 years has taught me many lessons. One is the value of remembering. Saturday night, as I stood beside Keith’s hospital bed with two of his caregiver, our conversation slowly ambled toward Chris, Grace, Tom and so many others. Young people who were snatched from us too soon. Keith slept because his medical emergency was over. Relieved that he would go home, we hugged each other with sweet memories and conversation of our loved ones who have gone to be the Lord.
Perhaps turning these moments into a traditional ceremony will only take away the value. Yet, it is apparent that the Lord wants to become a vital part of the joys and sorrows of remembering.