The last few days have had a similar theme. Little did I know when I wrote on Friday about Making Memories With God that Saturday would bring me into contact with a family who took that seriously. Then this morning, during our Palm Sunday service, the sermon was on the importance of remembering. I think God is trying to tell me something…
In Deuteronomy, God reminds the Hebrews at least fifteen times that they need to remember the Lord and what he has given them and done for them and ten times not to forget their sin as well as the law given them and the covenant made with them. However, a short time later, in Judges it tells us that:
And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. They forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth. Judges 3:7
It was pretty simple: remember and don’t forget. This is the people that went through the water on dry ground at both the Red Sea and the Jordon River. God spoke to them, gave them the land in which they were living; yet they forgot.
Peter, the leader of the Apostles also forgot. When he told Jesus that he would die for him, Jesus told him he would forget that statement and deny him three times. The next morning in the court of the High Priest, no sooner had Peter uttered his third denial, saying “I do not know what you are talking about,’ then the rooster crowed and the realization struck him; he had forgotten his pledge.
Today is Palm Sunday. It is a day of remembering. Next week we will celebrate and remember Holy Thursday (Last Supper), Good Friday (Crucifixion), Holy Saturday (the depths of despair), and Easter (He is Risen!). These liturgical feasts are remembrances; so is Christmas and Epiphany and the many other celebrations of the Church year. We remember; we don’t forget. God has sacrificed for us, made us his own and those memories, those remembrances, form a strong bond in our heart and soul, because in a small way they are like the chief remembrance, the Eucharist.
Every Sunday, in the Eucharist, we share in that special moment of the Last Supper. But it is more than a mere memory, more than a memorial, it is entering into a moment in eternity and sharing with Jesus and the twelve and all those throughout history who done the same; it is being there.
Significant rememberings, especially those of significant spiritual events, have some of that quality of being there. They are more than a memory and while not the same as the Eucharist, they have the power to bring forward in time the witness of those events, to bring them to life in our present moment, as we share as a people those special moments in which we as children of God have made memories with God.
As you move through Holy Week completing the last days of our Lenten meditations, remember and do not forget; do not be like the Israelites before you, or the people of God down through the centuries, who on innumerable occasions forgot their God and lost their way, some to their eternal dismay.
Instead, let us take heed and learn from those who went before, remembering our God and his mighty deeds of deliverance and salvation, of love and sacrifice, and in the remembering hold fast to that faith once delivered unto the Saints of God.
Grace and peace.