Anniversaries make me nostalgic…looking back on the previous year…evaluating, celebrating, lamenting, remembering. Today is my one-year anniversary at IBCB so I’m looking back on this previous year and remembering.
I was curious about the word “remember” and the role it plays in Scripture…so I counted the number of times it occurs in the Bible. Not really! But my Bible software program tells me that the word occurs 768 times in the Old and New Testaments. In some cases, “to remember” is used of God in remembering persons (Genesis 8:1; Genesis 19:29, etc.), His covenant (Genesis 9:15; Exodus 2:24; Ezekiel 16:60, etc.), in answering prayer (Judges 16:28; Neh. 13:14, 22; Psalm 20:3, etc.), and in other ways. In other cases, God’s people are challenged to “remember” God’s activity in their midst, His commandments (Deut. 8:2, 18; Judges 8:34; 1 Chron. 16:12, etc.), the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8), etc.
Of course, the most familiar “remembrance” is Jesus’ command related to the Lord’s Supper in Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24-25, “This do in remembrance of me.” In this example, we see clearly the reason for the biblical emphasis on remembering: God’s activity, our participation, and our anticipation. In the Supper, we see clearly God’s activity on our behalf through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We see also what God has done in our own lives. Through our participation in his death, God’s judgment has been taken upon Jesus…not on us even though we deserve it, and through his resurrection, we have new life through the power of the Holy Spirit. When we take the elements of the Supper…we remember what has taken place in the past.
In addition, we look forward to what is to come. Jesus reminded us that the next time he celebrates the Supper will be when he returns to complete what he began in our lives. By looking back on what God has done through the historical events of Jesus’ death and resurrection and by remembering our personal commitment of faith to God that resulted in our old self being crucified and being raised to a new life, we experience a new work of God’s saving grace that challenges us to live responsibly today in anticipation of what is to come. We look back…and look forward…both…at the same time.
On Sunday 12. July, we will together as a church have a chance to look back and look forward. We will remember all that God has done in our midst during this past year. We will reflect on what we believe God has commanded us to do on mission for him at this time and in this place. We will celebrate all that God has accomplished in and through us as a result of our life together in Jesus Christ. But we will also look forward with anticipation to all that God is going to do during the coming year. We will re-focus our attention on the vision that God has given us and we will recommit ourselves to the Lord and to our fellowship.
I hope you will make an effort to be present on Sunday 12. July for our special service. Come prepared to share a brief testimony of God’s work in your life, in your family, in your growth group, or in your ministry. Be ready to celebrate God’s goodness through singing, praying, and sharing. Then join us for the fellowship meal following the service.
Remembering…looking back…looking forward. I am glad to be…