Very few people alive today can remember the ‘Great War’ of 1914-18. Even grandparents may be too young to remember World War II. Sadly, the names listed on war memorials are unknown to most of us. Even wars happening right now will soon be largely forgotten.
So how and what should we remember?
For each generation, the act of ‘remembering’ means totally different things. But is there something we can all gain from ‘remembering’?
Remembering can be helpful
Apparently we can all learn from history; in fact, it’s essential that we do. As somebody once said, those who don’t learn from history are bound to repeat it!
The Bible is more than a very old history book. It has lessons to teach us.
For example, it tells us about the Jewish slaves who escaped from Egypt and could remember what they had suffered. By remembering their history, they learnt how best to treat any slaves in their own society. Similarly, remembering when they were ill-treated and hungry themselves prompted them to leave some of their crops in the fields so that poor, hungry people could have something to eat.
So, the Bible doesn’t encourage us to look back at the past just for the sake of it. It teaches us to apply lessons learnt from history in our own lives. ‘Remembering’ should be something that shapes our lives ‘here and now’.
In normal circumstances, one person’s death 2000 years ago would have long-since been forgotten. But it’s something we have all been asked to remember.
Before his betrayal and crucifixion, Jesus made a simple request:
“The Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-25 NKJV)
Why did he say that?
We are all asked to remember that Jesus gave his own life for a very good reason – to give all of us the hope of having a better life in the future.
You might say that soldiers fighting wars do something similar. They sacrifice their own wellbeing, even their lives, for the sake of their country. For that reason they certainly leave an indelible mark on history.
But Jesus did even more. He changed the course of history completely!
Without his perfect life and the sacrifice that ended it, none of us would have any hope of being in the peaceful world God plans to create in the very near future.
Meanwhile, we can all learn from the way Jesus lived his life and, if we did, we could all reap its benefits. The absence of war would be one of them.
And when we remember the sacrifice of Jesus in the bread and wine, we remind ourselves that he died for each of us…and also that he is coming back soon:
“For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till (Jesus) comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:26 NKJV)
So isn’t now a good time for us all to remember JESUS?