As I have gotten older, I have realized that I need more and more mnemonic devices. The tools needed to help me remember names, places, and appointments are by necessity growing in number. I am certain that this is due to the increase of information intake not the decrease in my capacity to retain it. In other words, it is not because I am getting older. We used to have Day timers, pocket calendars, and other printed organizers to help with the task of keeping and prioritizing needed information. We often still use bookmarks, post-it notes, and 3×5 cards to assist us. The digital revolution has certainly changed all that.
Now we have a cell phone that functions in all the ways mentioned above. My phone has a ready calendar with all the benefit of entering, organizing, and prioritizing dates and events; Kindle e-books which manages to automatically save my place in every book I am reading; Bible software that manages to make hundreds of biblical resources available to me with the touch of my finger and many more features that I forget how to use. I need a memory device to help me with my memory device. There is an app for that, I am sure.
We also utilize annual celebrations to remember important dates. These events help us appreciate the significance of the original event. Birthdays, anniversaries, hire dates, retirement dates, etc. Of course, when we fail to remember the celebration we painfully find out just how important some of these dates are to those around us.
Now let me ask you to entertain a different perspective. Rather than trying to imagine, manage, and remember all the people and places that are important to you, try now to imagine what you might say or give to others so that they might remember you. What would be the best way to convey the most truth about you and what was important to you? There are probably some easy answers to this question as we consider our hobbies, interests, and other favorite activities but some deeper reflection might yield some answers that are not quite so easy to represent by simple memorabilia. How can we best represent or reflect what is most important to us? How do we want to be remembered?
There are several places in the Bible where instructions are given about memorials and their importance. We will not find a general instruction but events, circumstances, and experiences that are defined as significant and then given instructions to remember and transmit the significance. The following references are just a few examples: ; ; and .
Jesus also gave His disciples some “memory devices” to help them retain significant events and information. Perhaps the most powerful but simplest lesson is given in the upper room at the last supper. It is there that he uses the symbols of the bread and the cup and the instruction “do this in remembrance of me” (). In fact, the word “remembrance” is the Greek word from which we get the English word mnemonic, meaning memory. He is telling them how He wants them to remember Him. It is why we continue to gather and remember around the Communion tables.
Paul ‘s teaching to the Corinth Christians and us included the following, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” . Did you catch that? This memory moment is not just to remember something in the past, but to talk about it in the present because it defines the eternal future. What a powerful reminder! He died for us; we have life in Him; He is coming back. If Jesus were to answer the question of how He would want to be remembered, clearly the bread and the cup would be an essential reminder of the covenant relationship secured through the body and blood of Jesus alone.
It is so simple to be a part of this memorial. It is the living testimony of the followers of Jesus pointing to the Life-giver Himself. It is expressed as a living memorial through our participation, our communion, in the body and shed blood of the Savior. Come and worship!
14 “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. (ESV)
9 And it shall be to you as a sign on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the Lord may be in your mouth. For with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt.
14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” (ESV)
7 then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.” (ESV)
19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. (ESV)
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (ESV)