I remember the solemnity of the occasion before I totally understood what it meant. A song was sung “to prepare our minds.” The men would go forward in suits and ties. The one presiding would often read from I Corinthians 11 or one of the gospel accounts where Jesus instituted the supper. Then make a few appropriate remarks.
I remember when a white table-cloth was used to cover the communion trays. And the one officiating would carefully remove the cloth. Delicately fold it. And gently lay it aside.
I remember Roscoe Ping with his head bowed. I remember the sober and solemn expression on my father’s face. I remember seeing a tear in my mom’s eye.
I remember how quiet it was, except for an occasional baby’s cry. No horseplay by children was tolerated. And any disruption was met with quick, discreet and stern rebuke.
And I remember the table. Those words etched in the wood. “This Do In Remembrance of Me.” Words that I would later learn have been found on almost every communion table in every church building I have ever visited.
They are Jesus’ words. Words spoken in the shadow of Friday’s cross. Words recorded by the apostle Paul as he recounts the institution of the supper.
For 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.” (1 Cor 11:23-25)
Today I am recalling some childhood memories. Sunday I will eat the supper. Commune with fellow Christians. And remember Jesus.
I will remember Friday. Judas’ betrayal. Peter’s denial. Pilate’s cowardice. The lies of false witnesses. The Sanhedrin’s mock trial. The crowd’s cry, “Crucify Him.”
I will remember Friday’s sins that sent Him to the cross are my sins. My betrayal. My denial. My cowardice. I, too, am guilty.
I will remember how He was scourged. Mocked. And nailed to the cross. I will remember His suffering. His sacrifice. And His vicarious death. How he took my place. And died for my sins.
I will also remember Sunday. The women’s early morning visit to the grave site. The empty tomb. The bewilderment. The excitement. The joy. The resurrection.
I will remember Jesus’ declaration “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. (Jn 11:25-26). I believe this. I gives me hope. Courage. Confidence.
I will remember his promise to come again. To take me home. To save me eternally.
It’s Friday. But Sunday’s coming! And I will remember Jesus!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman