Do This in Remembrance of Me
In the Christian tradition which I grew up in and still attend, we take communion every Sunday. Growing up, it was a very solemn occasion where one focused on the suffrage of Jesus, his crucifixion, and death. The church I currently attend has more of a family getting together for a special occasion feeling to it. We quietly chat, we hug, we go back sit in a seat and meditate. It is still a time of quiet reflection.
Our communion tradition has origin in the Jewish Passover. It was during the Passover, that Jesus took the bread and cup and said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” We [Christians] often quote this line prior to taking our little cracker wafer and our thimble of juice to help remember why we take communion.
While participating in communion last Sunday, “Do this in remembrance of me” was quoted. Instead of my mind focusing on Jesus and his crucifixion, I pondered more over the phrase, “In remembrance of me.” I began to think of my parents and what it means to remember them. I remember the way they lived. I remember who they were and what they stood for. I remember my dad’s laugh, the way it sounded. I remember my mom with mud on her boots from walking the cow pasture. I remember their strength. I remember the way my dad would aggravate my mom until she was furious with him. I remember how determined my mom was to master any skill that kept her from accomplishing what she wanted. I remember their hearts.
What I don’t think of is their last days. Not because I refuse to, but because it is not a good reflection of who each of them was as a person. When Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me,” I don’t think he wanted us to solemnly dwell on His death and contrast it to our own humanity. I think, rather, he wanted us to celebrate his life, what he taught his followers, and how he treated people–especially the outcast. I think he wanted us to reflect on what he came to represent–the love that God has for us. I have been so transfixed on the suffrage of Jesus, that I think I have lost, or perhaps I never knew, who Jesus really was. I know the stories, but I don’t think I know Him. A pastor who mentored me, Terry Smith, told me, “I wanted to know Him [Jesus] so well that it was like He was the very blood in my veins, like He was the very air I breathed.” I think I am coming to understand what Terry meant by that.
It wasn’t a clinical analysis of Jesus’ death that Terry was after, but rather to know Jesus, the man, His life, the way Jesus thought, what made Him tick that Terry was after. He was in pursuit of life, not death. Perhaps that is the difference I am trying to sum up: that we need to pursue life and not death. We need to remember and participate in the legacy of Jesus, not just His final days. How different would church be, would humanity be, if we lived in legacy and not in death? Pursue life.