Rejoicing “in Remembrance”

“Do this in remembrance of me.”

What I’m going to say, you may find controversial. I grew up in a church where “Communion” was a solemn, even morbid time. Silence, and these words, sung in a repeated loop, in minor chords:

O Christ, Thou Lamb of God
Which taketh away the sin of the world,
Have mercy upon us.

O Christ, Thou Lamb of God
Which taketh away the sin of the world,
Have mercy upon us.

O Christ, Thou Lamb of God,
Which taketh away the sin of the world,
Receive our prayer.

O Christ, Thou Lamb of God
Which taketh away the sin of the world,
Grant us Thy peace.

A-men.

remembranceofmeI remember years later, after I’d trusted Christ as my Savior, I was sitting at a celebration of the Lord’s Supper which was much different. Instead of people silently walking to the front to receive a wafer and sip of grape juice from the hands of a minister in a flowing robe, we were all seated at one table. The pastor sat at the center, much like da Vinci’s depiction of the Passover, with Christ seated in the center. There were many people to his right and his left. I could not see his face, only his hands on the table. And I began to think.

“But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Matt. 26:29

–The next time this takes place, we’ll be with Him! “New”…with new meaning…a commemoration of His victory!

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb. 12:2

–Even though He sweat great drops of blood in the Garden, and His spirit was in anguish, it was all mingled with the joy that stood waiting beyond all that was required of Him. What was that joy? The reuniting, the perfect union of the Bride with the Bridegroom.

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” Jn 19:30

–This was not the faint and desperate cry of the defeated. This was the proclamation of the Victor, the Conqueror, the King of kings and Lord of lords! His voice, confined to human flesh and spent in exhaustion, may have been low…but the very rocks of this world which He created shouted for Him:

“And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” Mt. 27:51-53

“And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” Jn. 16:22

–There is sorrow in remembering what He had to endure for us…things we think we understand, but are in actuality too deep for us to truly comprehend in all their significance. Who can know what it is for God the Father to turn His back on the Son…when they had been perfectly united in utter holiness and purity from eternity past? What did the blight, the stain, the curse, the condemnation, the shame, the pain, the separation caused by all the world’s sin…extending from Adam throughout the lives and hearts of every person in every generation…what effect did that grievous weight have upon the Savior? We can’t know.

Be we can know this. We are not to remember the event of the crucifixion, behaving as if He was still on the cross. No. It was “once for all”…and “it is finished!” There is great cause for rejoicing in the Lord’s Supper, when we choose not only to look back in memorial…but look forward with anticipation to that reuniting at last, reveling in joy. I look forward to being seated at that banqueting table, looking down, and seeing His nailed-scarred hands serving one and all, at the brightest, most glorious reunion in history.

Welcome home children!
Welcome home children!
Here where I am you shall always be,
Forever rejoicing with me.

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