The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., was dedicated in 2011. Visitors pass through the divided granite “Mountain of Despair” on their way to the “Stone of Hope.” An inscription on the “Mountain of Despair” reads, “I was a drum major for justice, peace, and righteousness,” a statement King once suggested for how he would like to be remembered.
But today we celebrate a different kind of memorial. It is not carved in granite or set in stone. The memorial consists of two extremely perishable elements: unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine. You do not have to travel to Washington or Jerusalem to appreciate this memorial. Indeed, today, all around the world, millions of people are gathered around the Lord’s table to remember the One who died to set them free from sin and death and Hell. On many of those Communion tables you will see the words: “Do this in remembrance of me.”
By revelation the apostle Paul received these words: “The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me’” (1 Corinthians 11:23-25).
The fundamental truth of the gospel is this: Christ died for our sins. The mountain of our sins caused us great despair. But then Christ, who is our hope, took our sins away. “He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed” (Hebrews 9:15). And so today we can paraphrase King and say, “Free at last, saved at last. Thank God Almighty, through Jesus Christ, we’re saved at last.”
Victor Knowles is founder and president of POEM (Peace on Earth Ministries), Joplin, Missouri; www.poeministries.org.