I grew up in St. Andrew’s UMC. In the Pulpit area there was a table and written on the front were the words “Do this in remembrance of me”. I’ve seen these words in churches I’ve visited around the world. Why do these words hold such a prominent position in our faith?
Remembrance is important to Christianity. As believers we are strengthened and encouraged by remembering the faith and deeds of those who have gone before us. We remember the promises of God’s word. As we do so our confidence is built in trusting God and living in his truth.
This takes place within the context of the Last Supper. This meal was a part of the Jewish festival of Passover. This meal had been observed annually since Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt. The original Passover was a miraculous occurrence, and it was a pivotal event in the formation of God’s people as a nation. God’s people have been enslaved in Egypt for centuries. On this night the tormentors were punished and the Israelites were freed from slavery according to God’s promise of restoration.
The account from Exodus 12:12-14 describes what happened:
“On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.”
In this passage we see Jesus commemorating, remembering, and observing, what God has done. He is also revealing what God is doing and will do. The blood of the lamb covered the doorposts, the blood of Jesus covers our sins. The disciples, the entire nation of Israel and the church to come would observe this meal again. Jesus, however, is adding a deeper meaning to it. As we remember freedom from physical slavery, we also remember the sacrifice of Jesus that frees us from spiritual slavery.
We can practice this command today by doing what the church has done for centuries. By observing Communion together regularly, prayerfully and thoughtfully considering together what the Lord has done for us.
Jesus says, in John 6:56, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.” Today we can see clearly what he was referring to; the fulfillment of the Passover meal in his sacrifice, life and resurrection. When we observe Communion, we are declaring ourselves to be in community with God and with one another.
In this trying time of quarantine, pandemic and racial tensions, it seems nearly impossible to remember Jesus through communion as he instructed his disciples to do. We can be discouraged. Because God is God, we know Jesus did However, foresee this! Regardless of our situations in life, we can faithfully remember his sacrifice for us each day in all of our words, thoughts, and deeds.
This is “World Communion Sunday” World Communion Sunday. It is a celebration observed by several Christian denominations, taking place on the first Sunday of every October. The observance promotes Christian unity and ecumenical cooperation.
Tune in for online worship Sunday at 11:00.
“I don’t know how, but I know WHO!”
Grace and Peace, Pastor Nelda
Reverend Dr. Nelda Barrett Murraine is pastor at First United Methodist Church PO Box 146 – 229 W 4th St. Kennedale, TX 76060
First United Methodist Church of Kennedale – https://www.facebook.com/KennedaleFUMC/