Originally scheduled for March 7
It is Valentine’s Day. It is a time of bustle
and hurry; you have a reservation at the restaurant that must be
met. The flowers have arrived and are being arranged on the table.
Of course, there is chocolate in sufficient abundance that your
doctor probably will warn you about it. He as you are heading out
the door, your eyes wander to a corner of the living room next to
the fireplace. There, looking a little bit too forlorn, is your
Christmas tree. You give it a moment’s thought, noticing some of the
ornaments on the tree. There is one which commemorates the birth of
your first son, who is now in his 40s. There are pictures in
ornaments of your kids in Little League, school plays, vacation
trips — even pictures of those who are no longer with us but are
fondly remembered. The Christmas tree is usually a living collection
Commemoration. We can x-ray that word. The back
portion, starting with “mem…”, obviously comes from our word,
“memory.” If you give it a moment’s thought, you’ll recognize the
prefix too. The prefix “co” implies something that we do together.
Whether the memories are happy or
sad, or both, it sometimes helps to have those around who remember
with you. You stir each other and remind each other of details long
Just because an event is past doesn’t
mean that it’s meaningless. We still celebrate the Fourth of July
after more than 200 years.
Sometimes, just having others around
allows you to let out the emotions that the memory arouses.
Occasionally we need permission to let our emotions show.
Communion, of course, is the commemoration of
Christ’s great sacrifice for us. He commanded that we celebrate it,
and I think we can see why.
Most obviously, there is the meaning
that the event holds. By his atonement we are saved; we have
received grace. That is certainly worth remembering.
It also helps us stir up memories,
very often memories which are unique to ourselves. We remember not
only that he offers us grace, but the reasons we need it. We can
repeat it in song, “love lifted even me.”
It also helps us reconnect with our
faith. This is not somebody’s theory about what God is like; it is
the example that God has set.
The commemoration determines the style. As you
partake this morning, do so in a worthy manner. Examine yourself;
repent where needed; make amends as required. Then, knowing that his
body is in the bread, that his blood in the cup, commemorate his
sacrifice for you.