To Remember Is To Renew
Originally scheduled for September 23
Have you ever been to your high school reunion?
Some of us (this author included) would view the prospect of a high
school reunion as an absolute terror. But others look back on our
high school days with great fondness, and a reunion is something
which refreshes the memories of a very pleasant age. Military
veterans know something of the same thing. If your military service
was dull and boring (mine was) there is usually no reunion. But if
you served in combat the friends you made there are friends for a
lifetime. A reunion of your old outfit is an occasion not to be
There are personal reunions too. It’s a common
case that, no matter how large the university you went to, you have
friends that you want to see for the rest of your life. It may be
only once a year, but the opportunity is cherished and you approach
it with a smile.
It’s something that is built into human beings.
We want to remember the good times, or even the tragic times that
bonded us together. But human memory fades; sometimes that’s a good
thing. Other times, it causes us to neglect the good times or even
the great times of our lives. Humans, however, have a way of dealing
with this. We invent rituals so that we might remember the past.
They may not be very formal. Often enough at a military reunion the
chaplain offers a prayer for those who never returned. It’s
customary; it’s a ritual. If you go to your high school reunion, you
might sing your school’s alma mater. The truth is that rituals renew
Communion is a ritual — a ritual that renews
our memories each time we participate. This is a ritual which
commemorates the most important event in human history: the
sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. Of all events this is the one most
worth remembering. Indeed, the Christian knows that it is the most
important event in his own personal life. It gives eternal life;
therefore, it is much greater than any human event that we could
remember in our own lives.
There are three essential steps in this ritual,
each of which reminds you of the sacrifice of your Lord on the
First, there is confession.
You came to the Cross because you are a sinner. It’s time to
bring out the details.
Second, there is repentance. There is
no sense at all in telling the Lord that you are a sinner, that this
is the particular sin, and that you don’t want to do anything about
Finally, partake in the elements of
the Lord’s Supper. The bread is his body, the cup is his blood;
take, eat, remember — and renew.