"Do this in remembrance of me" - Jesus.
Today's song is Matt Maher's "Remembrance." It would perhaps be obvious to reflect today on the Lord's Supper in a time of quarantine. However, that will be the subject of my sermon on June 28th here at Fellowship. So today, as we journey on through the "Contemporary Testimony: Our World Belongs to God," I would like to just share a few thoughts about remembering.
Paragraphs 1-6: Preamble (April 11-29)
Paragraphs 7-12: Creation (April 30-May 8)
Paragraphs 13-17: Fall (May 11-15)
Paragraphs 18-22: Redemption (May 18-22)
Paragraphs 23-27: Jesus Christ
Paragraphs 28-30: Holy Spirit
Throughout the Bible, God's people are called to remember. For Christians, Jesus calls us to re-enact his Supper as an aid to memory. As we do, we remember Christ's sacrifice. We also remember his spiritual body.
With that latter point in mind, I found the picture, above, very poignant. I took that in our church fellowship hall on March 10. You may recall that the Arab Community Centre had the hall that evening for a dinner that we were invited to. They also brought in an indigenous chef. Someone had taken it on themselves to carry our communion table in from the foyer, and put the chef's display items on it. I hope you do not find it irreverent, but I was stopped in my tracks when I saw it, hearing Christ's words as an invitation to remember not only him, but also the indigenous peoples among us.
The Spring issue of Cardus' Comment magazine had some excellent words to share about the important role of shared memory in matters of race, especially from an American perspective. Consider for example this quote from Larycia Hawkins:
The fire shut up in my bones blazes with a testimony as miraculous as Ezekiel’s graveyard. American history, even religion, may have robbed me and my people of many things, but not of memory. Ebenezers are passed down in code, through story, song, and stones of remembrance. That’s all some of us got. Freedom is a song and a pile of stones—tragic hope that the dry bones of our history can be resurrected in our memory.
I was reminded of the need for memory just this month, as Tulsa, Oklahoma marks the 99th anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre, "the single worst incident of racial violence in American history" (WikiPedia). Guess what: I was educated in the US, and we never studied it. Not once. May father was educated in Oklahoma just 25 years after the event, and he was never taught it. These are memory problems that people are now calling us to fix with urgency.
In Canada, the Truth and Reconciliation Committee has forced us to acknowledge how treatment of First Nations people, particularly the residential schools, were omitted from our education. More memory problems.
Jesus calls us to remember. Part of that is his tortured self on the cross. Part of that is his present broken body. Part of that is the memory that we are the ones who put the Son of God to death. And part of that is knowing that on that cross, we are forgiven and we are deeply, deeply loved.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
PS - Online office hours tomorrow will be 11am - noon. Just click on that link to open a video conference session.