March 02, 2015 | 0 Comments
After Dave Clelland’s sermon on Remembering the Gospel, I thought relating it to remembering Christ in the Lord’s supper was a natural follow up. Dave himself mentioned the Lord’s supper during one of his points on what it means to remember the Gospel. This is an excellent follow up article on what it means to remember.
Evangelical churches typically recite these words when taking communion—or the Lord’s Supper: “Do this in remembrance of me.” Whether your theology of communion leans toward the Calvinistic “spiritual presence” or Zwingli’s memorial view, or you find yourself floating back and forth between the two, I would guess we all desire a heightened sense of what God holds out to us in these dynamic symbols.
In 1 Corinthians 11:24-25 (see also Luke 22:17-20) Paul recounts the instructions Jesus gave the disciples when inaugurating the new-covenant meal. Jesus says as we grind the broken bread (his body) in our teeth and as the bitter taste of the wine (his blood) lingers on our throats, we remember Christ’s death.
More Than Recalling
So what does it mean to remember? Does it simply suggest we shouldn’t let thoughts slip out of your mind? Does it mean we reminisce on the sufferings of Jesus so I feel really thankful or really awful? For many Christians, to remember is an ambiguous mental activity. But in the Bible, a call to remember—especially when tied to a covenant sign or ceremony—is a vibrant, powerful, and participatory concept where we recalibrate our lives according to what’s being remembered. According to Herman Ridderbos in his outline of Paul’s theology, “It is not merely a subjective recalling to mind, but an active manifestation of the continuing and actual significance of the death of Christ.”