Originally scheduled for December 3
"Truly I say to you, wherever this
gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will
also be spoken of in memory of her."
(Matthew 26:13 NASB)
When you hear the word “souvenir”, you normally think of some
little trinket that you purchase to remind yourself of someplace you
have been. It is a memorial to a trip that was pleasant. But
souvenirs don’t always have to be small and portable. Take, for
instance, any of the eight battleships the United States is
preserved as memorials to those who served in World War II. The
smallest of them is 35,000 tons of steel. This will probably not fit
on your shelves. But why do we preserve such large souvenirs?
The usual ostensible purpose in this instance is to memorialize
those who served in World War II. This is a group that is getting
smaller by the day.
Many visit this souvenir ship as a way of recalling their time
serving in the U.S. Navy, battleship or not.
Still others go to remember not what they did in the war, but what
their grandfather did.
Whatever the reason, it is one colossal
Memorials seem to come in one of two flavors. Either
they are some physical object, large or small, or they are some
formal ceremony. The physical objects range from small to large; the
ceremonies from simple to elaborate.
Humans are designed to be
eternal; therefore they need memorials. Curiously enough, in the New
Testament there are only two memorials described. One of these is
communion, of course. The other is found in Matthew chapter 26, the
incident where a woman poured perfume on Jesus’ head. (There is much
debate as to whether or not this is the Mary of Mary and Martha. For
our purposes, it does not matter.) It is surprising, given the place
and time, as women were considered second-class citizens. We may
observe these characteristics of her actions.
A Beautiful Thing
– there is a sense in which this act of devotion just “fits” – it
has that sense of being the right extravagance at the right time.
Timely – the act is just before Jesus’ death. We can see in it
that she has done this at precisely the right time
It is all
inclusive – she had nothing else so precious, one would think, and
so the act was everything she could do.
Insightful – her devotion
matched his thought; he was going to the Cross; she was anointing
him for burial.
Communion has these characteristics
too. It is in fact a beautiful ceremony, of utter and elegant
simplicity. It is almost impossible to clutter it with
artistic renditions that obscure the native beauty of the ceremony.
It is also timely. It is done on a regular basis so that we will not
forget the sacrifice of Christ, but keep the atonement foremost in
our minds all the time. It also gives us the chance to repent on a
regular basis, before sin can get a total grip. Think of it in terms
of “3R’s” — Recurring Reminder to Repent.
It is all inclusive.
There are two senses for this; it is all you really need if you have
the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. It is also inclusive
in that all Christians partake; it’s not just for the super saint.
It is particularly insightful — if you examine yourself as part of
communion. Who knows you better than yourself?
The bread is
his body; the cup holds his blood. Do this in remembrance of the
Savior sacrificed himself so that you might live eternally.