As I was prepping several articles with links to related content (See the "Related" links at the bottom of this page for examples!), I found an article I wrote four years ago, called More Than a Change of Season.
I can still remember exactly where I was on the walking path when I saw the school children. I can remember what it smelled like. I can still hear the chatter of the kids wafting across the southeast breeze. The dogs behind me, several hundred yards away, were barking. I can remember how I felt about my own kids, especially about my daughter who was beginning her senior year of high school at the time. I can remember how I paused on the path and thought this would make a good Heartlight article. All of this came back to me when I saw the graphic and the title of the article.
These memories from the past reminded me just how powerful and important remembering can be. Memory can be friend and foe. However, the absence of memory is a horror we all fear.
Faith has much to do with memory. I’ve grown up in a church heritage where we take the Lord’s Supper every week. I guess I don’t really get why everyone doesn’t. I know the arguments ... it can grow stale, it can become a hollow ritual, it can take too much time out of the service, it is not as exciting as other elements of worship, or people can become legalistic about it. All of this is true to one extent or another, I know. However, I’ve noticed many groups who once didn’t observe The Supper weekly are now coming back to this visceral, sensory moment of remembering and centering on Christ and his love for us, as well as our commitment to join him in his work. This is especially true of emerging church groups and house church groups.
Embedded in my memory are the many places around the world where I’ve shared this moment of remembering. One of the most memorable occurred in Bangkok. People from over 12 nations were introduced before we shared in The Supper. How good it felt when we shared the one bread and realized we were the one Body of Christ. How sweet to see the divisions of culture, language, nationality, and race melt away in this one great moment of grace.
I can still remember the time, when as a young preacher, I was preaching about The Supper being a celebration. I had prepared, studied, and researched long and hard. But it was during the preaching that the Lord thumped me on the head and revealed something to me that has forever changed my experience at The Table. He helped me realize the reason this first day of the week remembrance was so important to the sense of celebration. The early church didn’t take The Supper on the day of Jesus’ death, but on the day of his resurrection. This changes everything!
Now don’t get me wrong, I believe there are indications (Read carefully Luke 24; Acts 2; 1 Corinthians 10 & 11!) that early Christians may have shared in The Supper as a sacred meal more frequently than once per week. But, there was clearly a powerful and intentional connection to the church gathering on "the first day of the week," the day of Jesus’ resurrection, to share in The Supper together, as one Body (e.g., Acts 20:7).
As we began this New Year, Sunday came on January 1. So we gathered with Christian friends from several churches and shared in a time of worship. Then we shared in The Supper as the New Year dawned. We began the New Year remembering and celebrating.
Memory is powerful. So let’s hear that gentle voice echoing down through the centuries, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me" (Luke 22:19 NAS).
Yes, memory is a powerful gift! Let’s not lose it or take it lightly.
I’d love to hear from you about some of your most memorable times at The Table. Please share those with our Heartlight community on my blog at http://blog.heartlight.org/phil/2006/08/memorable_supper.html