Frances and I celebrated our 68th wedding anniversary on Sept 2nd, a week ago yesterday. “Celebrated” may not be the right word because we didn’t go out to dinner or to a movie. We didn’t even go to Barnes and Noble or the library like we usually did in the past. We watched the Oregon football game on TV and let that record win be our celebration. The game was about over when Frances said, “When this ends, lets talk about what we remember of this night 68 years ago.” We didn’t wait. I turned off the sound and we began to reminisce. Some things came to mind quickly but we realized there was a lot that we had forgotten. Talking about it helped to resurrect some long-buried memories. Each of us remembered things the other did not and it helped to remind each other of what we did back then. Probably, if we had done this kind of reminiscing regularly over the last 68 years we would remember even more today.
Last Sunday in church I began to reflect on how what we did relates to what we do here each Sunday. I think Jesus must have known how easily we forget and so ordained this service of communion and remembrance. Besides going through this simple service, it also helps that we don’t have to remember by ourselves. It helps that we come together and tell the stories about his life and teachings, and most of all about who he was, what he did for us, and how he continues to be with us.
Every time a storm like Harvey or Irma hits we hear inspiring stories about people who risked everything to save someone else. We remember these stories and people for a while, but all too soon they are forgotten – unless there is a committed group who regularly tell the stories again and again.
The church is such a group. Sometimes we think the church exists to serve us, to help us be better persons, to inspire and guide us. And it does that. But first and foremost, it exists for one reason: to remember Jesus Christ and tell his story.
Paul reminds us of this when he writes in 1 Cor 11:23-26, For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you; that 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.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till he comes.