By Annette McDaniel
Halfway through her pregnancy, a young woman was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Her physician told her that she needed immediate treatment but that in doing so she would most certainly lose the baby boy she carried. This baby would be the first male child in over a generation and he would allow her husband’s family name to continue. She loved her husband and wanted the child so she chose to put off treatment until the baby was delivered.
During the months that followed she assembled a “Remembrance Book” in case treatment was unsuccessful. The book contained photos of her from childhood through adult-hood. There were stories of her life, pictures of her favorite places and poems she loved. She requested that should she not survive her husband would read to their son from the book while he was growing up. “I just want him to remember that I loved him with all my heart.” The husband sadly agreed hoping it would not come to that, but the by saving her baby she gave her life. Her sacrifice was celebrated each year exactly one month after her son’s birthday.
We remember our loved ones in many ways. We talk about their accomplishments and mark their resting place with flowers. Each year Boy Scouts and servicemen place American flags on the graves of our military who gave the supreme sacrifice. We honor their service to God and country with speeches.
Our Savior asks us to remember Him with a simple meal, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” The Lord’s Supper is a reminder of Jesus’ past suffering and death that atoned for our sins. It is a symbol of our saved relationship with Him now and our invitation to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in the future. When we break the bread, we remember his body was broken for us and when we drink of the wine (or grape juice) it represents the blood shed for us that ushered in the New Covenant. No more blood sacrifices—Jesus paid it all!
To fully appreciate what Communion symbolizes consider the following: Imagine that a close family member saves you from a disaster, but in so doing, your loved one loses his/her life. Would you remember that person occasionally or quite often? I suggest that your thoughts would vacillate between grief and gratitude for years to come.
The suffering and death of Jesus is a precious gift to be remembered and cherished. While there are sorrowful aspects to Jesus’ suffering and death we know that it is the expression of His abiding love. When we come to the Lord’s table we should examine ourselves as Paul advised and come humbly with gratitude. And it should be a celebration, not a funeral because He is risen and triumphant over all those things that could destroy us: death, hell and the grave.
In remembering Him we need only to look into the Bible (His Remembrance Book). It is all revealed there, His reason for the sacrifice, the way to draw close to Him and the joy in knowing that one day we will live with Him forever. Read and rejoice!