He knew we would need to hold the cup and drink the wine, to remind ourselves that it was His blood that signed the new covenant between God and us.
I have been recently been involved in clearing my mom's home as she decided that she is very happy at the care home she was moved to from hospital and would like to stay. I always knew it would be at bit of an emotional journey clearing mom`s home as it was the home I grew up and lived in for 14 years. Some of her possessions however have been part of my whole life, and I was prepared for being upset by going through her possession, but nothing really prepared me for the effect of finding so much of my Dad`s things (which were still at the house) would have on me as well.
My dad died 6 years ago, and it`s not like I had forgotten him, but some of the memories had faded a little recently as I had been so involved with my mom. As I opened drawers and cupboards the memories came flooding back; a pair of his glasses, the black tie he saved for funerals, his tyre pressure gauge (you just don’t see them anymore) and the shelves and shelves of really useful things he kept because “you never know when they will come in handy”!! But the most evocative was his Palestine Photo Album.
The whole of the front and back is emboss leather with an inlaid leather picture of David`s tower in Jerusalem. Inside is a selection of 1946 photos of my dads National Service which he served in Palestine, Israel (as is today) and Cyprus. To see dad with hair (he was always bald when we knew him) and in uniform with his comrades was quite amazing, it`s hard to imagine our parents having any other life than the life they had with us. There are also lots of pictures of what is today Israel but how it was in 1946, its absolutely fascinating. I remember dad showing us this book when we were children and how I loved it then with its black and white photos and that tissue paper sheets between the pages of the album.
The memories of dad just came rushing back as I held the book, it was a bit like he was there again telling me about when the fuel depot at Haifa was blown up …so many memories. I was so glad we had never disposed of or lost it, because it was such a reminder of what dad was like, holding it in my hands transported me back to my childhood and the stories he used to tell me.
The strength of the memory made me think of the wisdom of the God. Jesus knew how easily as humans we forget things, how over time we can lose the reality of memory and experience, so He left something behind that would guarantee that we would never lose touch with the reality of His salvation and His wonderful grace to us. This is the act of breaking bread together.
Paul says ''For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord Himself: On the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then He broke it in pieces and said “this is My body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me. In the same way, He took the cup of wine after supper saying “this cup is the new covenant between God and His people-an agreement confirmed with My blood. Do this in remembrance of Me as often as you drink it. For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lords death until He comes again.'' (NLT) 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
It was as I held my dad's photo album in my hands the memories came back, God knows that touch and taste often unlock the memories. He knew we would need to handle the bread and give thanks for it, we would need to remind ourselves that it was with His body that Jesus paid for our forgiveness, Isaiah says ''He (His body) was pierced for our rebellion crushed for our sins. He (His body) was beaten so we could be whole. He (His body) was whipped so we could be healed'' Isaiah 53:5. He knew we would need to hold the cup and drink the wine, to remind ourselves that it was His blood that signed the new covenant between God and us.
God new I might forget so He bids me to touch and taste as often as I can so the reality will not drift into clouded memory but stay vivid and effective every day. To keep me realising where I came from and who I am now because of His intervention in the World and in my life.
I am thankful that our fellowship has recently been focussing on taking time over communion and celebrating communion every week. This has been wonderful and so much wonderful teaching has come out of our time, but even in that I find I can still personally not always dwell on the value of remembering that it was for me He died. I need to remind myself and make time to allow the Holy Spirit to bring to my mind and my spirit the truths He wants to reveal to me
I think it’s the same with reading the Word, we have to handle it to take time over it, to let it touch every part of our lives. I am so grateful that today the Word of God can be accessed in many technical and none-technical ways. We can see it and hear it but to me this time has given me the chance to just sit and hold the Word of God and read and re read it till it has become more precious than ever. To handle it and allow it to speak to me as never before, to give the Holy Spirit the time to illuminate it to me. To touch it and to let it sink into my life and my memory, so that handling the Word is not something that is strange to me but something I can share with the Lord and allow Him to reveal His truths to me.
Thank You Lord for every remembrance of You and help me to daily bring you into my life and dwell on the memory of how You saved a sinner like me. Help me to hold in my hand the memory of who I was and what You have made me in Yourself through Your sacrifice on the Cross.
Author: Jan Pearson
May God bless and enrich your life
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