Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
March 6, 2016
The precious gift of memory
Memory is a
precious gift. We are wise to treasure it, nurture it and use it. But we must
guard against using it wrongly.
the mistakes of others has little value. Since we all err it is best to forgive
and forget the blunders of others. And hope our friends will afford us the same
Dastardly deeds are not easily
forgotten. The terrorist attack of 9-11 burns in our memory. Though memories
fade with the passing of time, this heinous crime will be remembered as long as
The God of the Bible calls upon his
people to remember not the evil deeds of others but rather the kindness of God.
The Passover Feast, for example, was begun in obedience to God’s command that
the Jewish people remember how God delivered them from bondage in Egypt.
families have obeyed that command for centuries, gathering in early spring
every year to remember the kindness of God. In early years the father of each
family would bring a lamb “without blemish” to be slaughtered by the priests.
The blood of the lamb was spilled upon the altar. The meat was returned to the
father and cooked for the entire family to enjoy that night. Unleavened bread,
cooked without yeast, was included in the Passover meal. The bread reminded
them of their hasty departure from Egyptian slavery.
This celebration had been observed for
centuries before Jesus came. But with his coming, in “the fullness of time,”
God did a new thing. Time was divided and a new era began.
understood his mission: he would become the sacrificial lamb, the perfect lamb.
His life was unblemished by sin. No truer words were ever uttered by John than these:
“Behold the lamb of God.” When Jesus died upon the cross he was the lamb “slain
from the foundation of the world,” fulfilling the plan of God.
betrayed him. The Jewish leaders insisted that he die. The disciples ran. The
bloodthirsty crowd cried, “Crucify him!” The Romans scourged him unmercifully.
They executed him upon a wooden cross without realizing that Jesus was giving his
life for the sins of the world. His life, he said, was not taken from him.
this mighty deed of God occurred on Calvary,
Jesus had arranged to eat a Passover meal with his disciples. We call it the
Last Supper. There he explained what was about to happen before he would
the meal Jesus took bread, broke it and gave thanks to God. Now many Christians
bow their heads and offer a prayer before each meal. My parents taught my
siblings and me to pray before meals. We still do, even in restaurants, holding
hands and offering a quiet prayer to express gratitude to God. It is humbling
to realize that we practice this habit because Jesus prayed that night in Jerusalem before breaking bread and sharing it
with his disciples. We do it because he did it!
natural it seems for a father or a mother to offer a prayer of thanks at the
table, so that children may learn to take nothing for granted! I am so grateful
for this legacy from my parents – the practice of prayer at mealtime. Tears of
gratitude well up in my eyes as I remember my parents insisting that no one
begin eating until a prayer of thanks was offered!
Jesus had given thanks, he broke the bread, and giving it to his disciples,
said those remarkable words, “This is my body, given for you: this do in
remembrance of me.” The meaning was clear. The breaking of the bread symbolized
the breaking of his body on the cross. Every time I take Holy Communion, I
tremble inside, realizing once again that Jesus died for me.
No wonder Charles Wesley cried in more than one of his hymns, “for
me, for me, He died!” It is an overwhelming truth – He died for me, for you,
for us all. He willingly endured the cruelest form of execution – flogging and
death upon a cross – for me and for you. Does it not move you to thank him for
this unmerited mercy?
a price Jesus paid for our sins! Can we dare to forget what it cost God to make
salvation available? Jesus expects us to remember him when we eat of the loaf
and drink of the cup. He knows that when we remember what he did for us, we are
motivated to offer our own lives as vessels of honor in his service.
died for you. Remember that. It will affect the way you live! + + +