Posted by: rcottrill | November 11, 2009

Remembering

I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. (I Cor. 11:23-26)

The signing of the armistice by the Allies and the Germans, on the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” in 1918, effectively brought an end to the First World War (though hostilities continued in some regions for a time). The day was declared a holiday in many of the allied nations, eventually becoming Veterans Day in the United States of America, and Remembrance Day in Canada.

Such an occasion provides us with an opportunity to recall the contribution of the military to the preservation of our freedom and our protection from tyranny. So many have given their lives for their country, yet it is easy to forget their commitment and courage, especially as events fade into the past.

Few veterans of the First World War are still with us. (None in Canada, I believe.) And those that remain from the Second World War are in their eighties now. When they go, we will have lost another link with those times. Who is there left to tell us firsthand of the Nazi Blitz in London, of the Normandy invasion, of Pearl Harbor, and the decisive Battle of Midway? Yet it is important to remember both the heroic victories and the follies of war, if we are to learn from them.

For us as Christians, there is an infinitely more important event that ought to be remembered as well: the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. From the cross He cried, “It is finished!” (Jn. 19:30). In Greek, that is “Tetelestai!” meaning paid in full. Our debt of sin was fully paid by the shed blood of Christ. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7). How could we help but remember and rejoice at that?

English clergyman Thomas Cotterill (1779-1823) is no relation of mine, as far as I know. (He spelled his name differently, as you can see.) But in 1805, he wrote a lovely Communion hymn (originally part of a longer poem). It reminds us of the need to continue to meet at the Lord’s table (“in remembrance of Me,” Jesus said) until He comes again (I Cor. 11:23-26). Remembering Christ and His cross is both a duty and the delightful privilege for every child of God.

In memory of the Saviour’s love
We keep the sacred feast,
When every humble, contrite heart
Is made a welcome guest.

Symbolic of His broken flesh,
We take the broken bread,
The cup in token of His blood
That was for sinners shed.

Under His banner now we sing
The wonders of His love
And so anticipate by faith
The heav’nly feast above.


Categories

%d bloggers like this: