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Do This In Remembrance of Me

Pr. Jaynan Clark

27 May 2011

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Pr. Jaynan Clark

Our Lord commanded us prior to His crucifixion that we were to gather at the table, even if set in the midst of our enemies as His was, and do it in His remembrance. Peter had earlier denied that anything in Jesus€™ future could possibly include enemies or persecution or death, to which Jesus responded, €œGet behind me Satan.€ The enemy at Jesus€™ table and by His side was also commanded to line up behind Him and follow. No one is exempt; we all are deniers, betrayers and enemies. We all are told to get behind Him, only Him---both to €œfish€ and as disciplinary action for our denial of what is and is to be.

Denial truly is a tool of the devil that works as a weapon on confessors:

  • denial of who you know you really are
  • denial of what you know you have really done
  • denial of your limits and the Lord€™s limitlessness
  • denial of the true call of discipleship
  • denial of the real Jesus
  • denial of your calling to serve and not be served; to follow and not to lead; to worship the Lord of the church and not the church, to deny yourself not celebrate it, to pick up your cross and follow Him. Repenting for our denial of the reality of our sinfulness and our tiresome attempts to do anything apart from the real presence of our Savior should call us into remembrance of Him

Memorial Day, known to me as €œDecoration Day€ as a child growing up, seems to have suffered the same fate as the Christian faith and organized religion over the last 40 years. Both the holiday and the Holy-day have suffered from what has been forgotten and not done in remembrance of the One and the ones who paid the price.

The set apartness of that last weekend in May for the sole purpose of decorating the graves of those who had served in the armed forces in order to secure and preserve this nation €œunder God€ has now in common practice become opening day for camping/picnicking season. Most kids and younger adults don€™t even know what you are talking about if you utter €œDecoration Day.€ They know nothing about the history that goes back before there was an observable holiday to the time of the Civil War and the acts of selfless women decorating the graves of the so called €œfallen enemies.€ Now in this 21st century world we can€™t fathom spending any of €œour€ weekends going to a depressing place like a cemetery when there are so many fun things to do. Places to go, people to meet, fun to be had! While in the distance you can hear whispered, €œDo this in remembrance of me. €œ

Memorial Day is supposed to be a time that pulls us back in memory to times and places and faces that aren€™t €œfun.€ It is a time to reflect on who we are and who paid the ultimate price for us to continue to be free as a nation. It is a time to reflect on the horrors of war but the reality of such in this world subject to sin, death and the power of the devil. In remembrance we reconsider those who fatally engaged for the sake of the other not the self and who did so according to those foundational beliefs of what is good and what is evil; what is to be upheld, fought for if necessary and what is evil and to be opposed. It all comes into play on this day of remembrance as we stand and watch the wind ripple the miniature flags, hear taps, see the elderly stoop to place flowers in remembrance with the hope that even a few of the young will be present to do the same.

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As disciples of Jesus Christ we are faced with the same reality across our churches. Many don€™t even know the history or the real battle that was fought to save them from themselves and the real price for their sin. They don€™t understand the cost of being Jesus€™ disciple---the price for free, unconditional grace. They don€™t get that Sunday€™s are not set aside as a time to forget or to deny in order to gather for €œfun€ but that the reality of sin, death and the power of the devil is what informs the necessity for the €œremembering.€ To do this in remembrance of Him is to be called into His real presence for a reality check on what the real world is, who you really are and what it means that He died on the cross to forgive you. To do this in remembrance of Him is to allow you to not be yourself but to be His---to be fought over, fought for and won! To do this in remembrance of Him is not just a time and a place to go and have fun. It is a day set apart to be fed at His table by His Word... it is a day to be €œreal€ in His real presence. A Holy-day set aside for you as a reminder that all of life is a prayerful response in remembrance of Him. It is a service-stop to fuel you for your weekly travel through the real world, engaging in it for His sake-- not vacationing from it.

Day-by-Day may you come to realize that you are not €œdecorated€ or adorned for discipleship but armed and the armor of God opposes only one enemy---the one who daily tries to deny Jesus His Lordship. The one who can kill the body but not the soul is a temporal adversary, a warmonger at odds with our Eternal Prince of Peace€”that the world does not understand.

This Memorial Day€”decorate the grave of a veteran even if you didn€™t know him or her remembering that he/she didn€™t know you either at the time of their death. Perhaps as you place flowers or a cross near their headstone you can take the time to be silent, to pray, to give honor and remember. To do so may bring you ever closer to their Lord and yours who calls to each of His children, €œDo this in remembrance of me€ whatever €œthis€ is, whatever the cost, for your true freedom which is in Him alone.