Every country has memorials to its heroes.
In the heart of Washington, D.C. stands that colossal stone monument pointing 555 feet into the air. Just inside its base are stories of George Washington, the president who was “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”
Not far away is a glistening white marble shrine. Under its canopy is a gigantic statue of a thoughtful figure seated in a great stone chair. It’s the statue of Abraham Lincoln, a president greatly loved by Americans.
Standing in the middle of all of these reminders, you get the feeling that the human mind needs a lot of prodding. Our tendency to forget drives us to jog our memories with monuments, anniversaries, and celebrations.
Jesus knew we would need powerful reminders of what happened in Gethsemane and on Golgotha as the decades and centuries passed. Though He never seemed to enjoy ritual or ceremony, He is the One who said, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).
In the upper room He urged His followers to love each other. He said that by their love they would be recognized as His disciples. Then He showed them what He meant with an ongoing memorial.
Those disciples could hardly believe what He did. I, too, am filled with amazement every time I think about it. Picture Jesus picking up a towel, filling a basin with water, then kneeling in front of each disciple and washing his dirty feet. As He completed His menial task He commanded them--and us--to do what He did in humility and love.
So each time someone kneels in front of me to wash my feet in preparation for Communion, I see Jesus in my mind. I remember His command to love one another.
But it wasn’t over. At the Passover Supper, this pivotal moment in history, Jesus and His disciples ate in order to remember. They remembered God’s delivery of the Israelite slaves from Egyptian bondage. They also looked forward to their future delivery from sin, to the Messiah’s death. Then Jesus, the actual Messiah, just hours before His death, set up a memorial for us using two items that were on the menu that evening. He was saying, It’s so easy to forget! Please remember! And I do.
As I take that unleavened bread I remember Jesus, His sinless body, bruised, beaten, and bloody. I see Him trying to drag that cross, my cross. I see the King of the universe hanging on that cross in my place. As I eat the bread my heart says, Jesus, I cannot fathom the pain you must have felt for me. Thank You!
The grape juice, too, makes me think of Jesus; His flowing blood brought from His body by the lashes, the thorns, the nails. He died that Friday, so I could live eternally with Him. And as I sip the juice, my heart cries out, Thank You for taking my death. I want to live for you today!
Yes, it’s easy to forget. I want to remember and believe.
So as the water trickles across my feet, as the crusty bread brushes past my lips and I crunch it, as the sweet juice delights my taste, I remember Jesus. I think about Him. I receive Him into my life again.
Dear Jesus, my servant King and suffering Savior, my powerful, risen Deliverer, I praise You for Your sacrifice today. I rest completely in Your mercy and grace.
A Special Service Live Across North America
On Friday, December 28, a special communion event will link Adventists across North America in a service of joyful dedication. This event, carried live on the HOPE Channel, will unite hundreds of thousands of Seventh-day Adventists in North America in the experience of rededicating their lives to Jesus at the same time.
The service will be broadcast live at 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 6:00 p.m. Mountain, 7:00 p.m. Central, and 8:00 p.m. Eastern, and repeated two hours later in each time zone. The ordinance of humility should be completed by the time the program begins, and the emblems of Christ’s sacrifice should be distributed 15 minutes prior to the end of the 60-minute broadcast, making it possible for people across North America to participate together in this event of spiritual renewal. For more information, visit www.nad.adventist.org.