Exodus 12:24-26 (New Living Translation)
Remember, these instructions are a permanent law that you and your descendants must observe forever. When you enter the land the Lord has promised to give you, you will continue to observe this ceremony. Then your children will ask, “What does this ceremony mean?“
Merriam-Webster defines “remember” as “to bring to mind or think of again.” But the biblical understanding of “remember” is far more than an intellectual exercise of recalling past experiences. It is a way of re-living those experiences in the present, and allowing them to form and transform our lives. God wanted the Israelites to constantly remember what God had done for them in the exodus from Egypt, and, through that remembering, to rejoice that God had promised to continue to work within their lives in powerful ways.
In Luke’s gospel, we have a record of Jesus’ words to his friends on the last night they shared a meal together before Jesus was arrested:
He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.”
We repeat these words whenever we come together to celebrate Communion in church. During Communion, we “remember” Jesus and that “Last Supper” with the disciples. We recall the things that took place in the hours following that meal: Jesus’ arrest, trial, torture, crucifixion, and death. We celebrate the sacrifice he made for us and the resurrection that gave us hope that death was not the end of the story.
But… if taking Communion is for us nothing more than a memorial of past actions and events, we would be missing the power of that remembering. Because we also rejoice that God is present with us right now, and that what Jesus did long ago has a direct effect on our lives today. We celebrate that God has promised to love, guide, and care for us, and that, through Jesus, our future is bright and full of hope!
What do you think of this active remembrance that God desires for us? What actions can you take to “remember” what God has done in your life? How can God’s past actions transform your current situation?