Seventeen years ago we were living in Spring Hill, TN. And I was preaching for the Jackson Heights church in Columbia. As I was preparing to leave for the office Norma Jean hollered for me to come into the family room. “A plane has hit one of the twin towers,” she yelled in disbelief.
Like millions of Americans we were stunned as we watched another plane hit the 2nd tower. Then the Pentagon was hit. Soon there was a report of the crash in PA. Later we learned of the heroism that prevented another catastrophic strike.
That day I did not go to the office.
We can each recall our feelings of shock. Horror. Confusion. Uncertainty. Then anger. Outrage. And indignation toward those who would perpetrate such an evil act.
We later learned that these 4 attacks were coordinated by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda.
Today all our lives are different. 911 impacted our economy. Our military. Our communities. Our personal lives. Air travel and a host of other things.
The immediate feelings of unity, community, and patriotism have long since given way to personal divisiveness. Partisan politics. And a more polarized and fragmented society.
Seventeen years later many have forgotten what happened. Why it happened. And how we felt. In fact, this morning, as I checked major news sites on the internet not one had 911 as a lead story. A threatening hurricane, politics and various stories of corruption have captured the headlines on this anniversary of 911.
This reminds me of how easy it is to forget. This is not only true in our nation’s history. But personally. And spiritually.
The Bible constantly warns God’s people not to forget. The Psalmist penned, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits” (Ps 103:2). Sadly the prophets were sent to remind the people how they had forgotten God. His loving kindness. And His wonderful works of old.
On the positive side, we are exhorted to “remember.” To “remember the words of Jesus” (Ax 20:35). To remember the teaching of the Apostles recorded for us in Scripture (Jude 17). And to remember how we have been brought into a redeemed relationship with Jesus through His death on the cross (Eph. 2:11-12).
To help us remember, in the shadow of the cross, Jesus instituted a memorial supper and instructed the disciples with these words as recorded by Paul.
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).
Sadly, the Corinthians had forgotten the purpose of the Supper. They had desecrated it and devalued this spiritual feast into a common meal. They needed to be reminded.
Peter exhorts us to remember our calling in Christ. Our blessings. Our responsibilities. And our hope (2 Pet. 1:5-15). If we do, it will keep us on the right track. And decrease the possibility of apostasy.
Unfortunately too many neglect the weekly assembly. Some churches do not even offer the Lord’s Supper every Sunday. It is possible to go weeks without reading Scripture. Or spending time in earnest prayer. It’s too easy to forget God’s benefits and blessings in Christ.
Just like 911 can become a distant, faded memory without much reflection, so can the day of our new birth. The sacrifice of Christ. And the Biblical admonitions regarding our Christian duties as citizens of His Kingdom.
Lest we forget, let us be reminded of who we are. Why we are here. And where we are going.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman