The Blessing of Memory

By Mike Shannon

One of the things we fear most is the loss of our memory. We get frustrated over even small memory lapses. It is such a devastating problem that much time, money, and effort go into solving the serious medical issues that contribute to loss of memory.

8communion9_JNBut what if it is not a medical problem? What if we deliberately forget or we forget out of benign neglect?

It is vital to Christians to always remember the meaning of the cross. How can we ever forget what Jesus did for us there? The early church was concerned about remembering, even in those early years. They met each Lord’s Day and partook of the bread and the cup to remember Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. We live 2,000 years later. It is even more of an issue for us to remember.

Jesus himself must have been concerned about our memory. Luke says, “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you’” (Luke 22: 19, 20).

Paul must have been concerned, too. He writes about what Luke tells us and adds, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).

This aspect of the Lord’s Supper is so significant that frequently on Communion tables are engraved the words, “Do This in Remembrance of Me.”

Rudyard Kipling’s poems are largely ignored today because of their association with British politics and imperialism. Such is the case of his 1897 poem “Recessional,” written for the anniversary of the crowning of Queen Victoria. In that poem he laments that his country might forget its Christian heritage and the work of Christ. One verse transcends all politics and surely resonates with all Christians:

The tumult and the shouting dies;

The Captains and the Kings depart:

Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,

An humble and a contrite heart.

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Mike Shannon serves as professor of preaching at Cincinnati (Ohio) Christian University. Find another Communion meditation by him each Friday in September at


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