1 Corinthians 11:23-26,
Memory helps to make us who we are as individuals, as a family and as a nation. Memory helps to make us who we are as a Church. Jesus must have realized how important memory is for the on-going life of the Church when he broke bread and offered wine to his disciples saying, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Our key memory, enshrined for us in the gospels, is of Jesus – his life and teachings, his death and resurrection. The whole Bible keeps alive the memory of God’s dealings with Israel and with the early Church with the memory of Jesus being central to it all. It is foundational for our identity as Christians. Lose that and we lose our way. The message addressed to the Church in Sardis in the Book of Revelation (a church that had a good reputation but was described as fatally ill) is, “Remember what you received and heard, obey it and repent.” On this day, 11 November, we remember the signing of that armistice that marked the end of World War 1 and in doing so we remember other things. We remember the millions of people who have lost their lives in war either serving their country or as civilians caught up in conflict. We may have personal memories of grief and trauma, anguish and despair caused by war. Then there are other things that we, as a nation, should remember: the dispossession of the land that was inflicted on its original inhabitants, the courage of explorers and settlers who ventured into strange and inhospitable country, the refuge and opportunity that this land has afforded people from many different lands blending them together into a multicultural whole, the despoliation of the land that has been inflicted on a fragile environment. Then as Jesus’ disciples in this part of the world at this time in its history we must ever remember whose we are. We belong to Christ, forget that and we have nothing to offer the country of which we are a part.
- What childhood memories do you have of an incident that had a big influence on the sort of person you have become?
- Jesus told his followers to eat bread and drink wine in remembrance of him. What else might he be calling us to do in remembrance of him?
- How are national memories kept alive?
- What do you think the role of the Church should be in relation to the nation?
Is that different from the role that your congregation is meant to play within your local community?