Remembering Strange and Unprecedented Times
We are witnessing strange and unprecedented times throughout the world. In future days people will sit around the table remembering all that is occurring. Families, in the years to come, will gather remembering and sharing the year that churches were closed. They will tell of how people were forced to celebrate Easter at home, and where finding normal supplies of milk, eggs, or even toilet paper was an issue. This is what we do, isn’t it when we gather? We share our experiences with those that were not with us and those that were. Remembering the good things and commiserating on the bad. The point of remembering is to help encourage each other pointing out the victories in the revelations. But it also teaches and shares the journey to those that might need to use our knowledge in the future.
Sharing through remembering is the beauty of table talk. It also instills in us the things that stand out like warmth of community, mission movements that help sustain others, and the importance of remembering it all. Remembering feeds our souls and sustains us emotionally and spiritually for the future. Perhaps this was just what God intended when He commanded His people to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The ultimate table talk of remembering the goodness of God poured out on His people and the celebration of when the blood of lambs saved their ancestors.
The Importance of Passover Remembering
And it is on Passover night during Holy Week that we see how remembering is important. We remember the night Christ’s disciples gathered to share a meal and likely shared stories of their journeys with their Lord. These men didn’t understand this was the last time they would celebrate the Passover meal with Jesus. Clearly, if they did; they’d acted and spoken differently. Instead, they pursued tradition and did what was expected.
They followed the procedure or the ritual that was handed down through the generations by eating the traditional meal of lamb, wine, bitter herbs, and most importantly unleavened bread. Each food served has specific meaning and significance in their remembering. They remembered the past with singing of Psalms, reading Scripture, and praying. But then Jesus did something different. He took two of the traditional parts of the Passover meal, the passing of bread and the drinking of wine, and gave them new meaning for new remembering.
Jesus used the bread and wine to explain the significance of what He was about to do on the cross. He explained that what He would soon fulfill would change the world. So, this was the final Passover meal for a new covenant was soon to take place between God and His people. Whereas the old covenant involved forgiveness of sins through the blood of animal sacrifice, Christ now offered Himself. He is the spotless Lamb of God and His sacrifice would forgive sin once and for all. His final sacrifice for sins with His blood would seal the new covenant between God and His people. It is because of and through Christ that we can come to God. This is the most significant table talk ever given and it is important to remember that this changed the world forever.
Table Talk Victory
In the same way, He took the cup of wine after supper, saying. “This cup is the new covenant between God and His people – an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it.”1 Corinthians 11:25 (NLT)
Remembering this table talk is important for it brings to light the revelation of victory through everlasting life. The apostle Paul calls us to live fully aware of this “table talk” being mindful of the body of Christ and the redemption that is given to us from His blood. When we gather to remember it is important that in the remembering we recognize that what He did for us has both a backward and forward look. We remember His death, but we remember too, His resurrection and the knowledge that He is coming again!
We celebrate what He did and anticipate what He will do upon His return. It is through this act of remembering that a strong sense of purpose surfaces. Therefore, as we remember and take part in the ritual act of communion it is important to prepare ourselves spiritually and gratefully recall His loving sacrifice for us. Moreover, it is critical to allow the reality to come to light that our sins are forgiven to motivate us to love and serve Him better. However, it is also crucial that we don’t only do our remembering when we participate in formal communion. It is wrong if we are only reminiscent of what He did for us during special celebrations.
Remembering His Love
As we approach Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and the ordinary days of life let us always give thanks for what He did and why He did it. Let us remember the past but more importantly, let us see and look forward to the future because of Him. We mustn’t allow the Lord’s Supper (commemorating the Passover meal Christ took with His disciples), Communion (communing with God and other believers), or Eucharist (giving thanks to God for Christ’s work for us) to become a ritual or pious habit. Let us not get caught up in the litany of High Church and lose the significance of who He is and what He did for us.
Instead, let us prepare ourselves and recall Christ’s loving sacrifice for each believer allowing the reality to settle in our souls that our sins are truly forgiven. And let us take this knowledge that permeates our heart, mind, and body and find the motivation to love and serve Him better. Above all, let us remember His love and cement in our minds what this love is like, for He willingly suffered and died a horrible death for the sake of His love for us. In the quiet celebration of Holy Communion let us remember there is no reason to be sad because remembering just reveals how much Jesus loves each of us. He gave Himself in death so that we might live and that is reason to celebrate.
Remembering the Rest of the Story
Won’t you challenge yourself to rethink and remember your privilege to celebrate the words of Christ allowing His determination to be your commitment to Him? Find your conviction in knowing fully the deep love that Christ gives you through His death. Allow your motivation to love and serve Him better because of His sacrifice for you. Surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that there is victory found not just on Easter morning but every morning for those who believe.
So, lift the cup, break the bread, and offer yourself to the will of your loving Creator. Take time for table talk and share your knowledge with others in the revelation of victory. The days and nights may seem long, but you know the rest of the story…Because He lives!
Love in Christ,
Perhaps nothing helps us make the movement from our little selves to a larger world than remembering God in gratitude. Such a perspective puts God in view of all of life, not just in the moments we set aside for worship or spiritual disciplines, not just in the moments when life seems easy.Heri Nouwen
What are Your Thoughts?
Do you enjoy remembering life around the table? Have you thought about how the Last Supper was the ultimate table talk that gave the revelation of victory at the cross? Share your thoughts on the importance of remembering Christ’s sacrifice not just during formal Communion but every day of life.