When I was a kid, I went to a church that had a communion table in the front. Carved along the edge were the words, ‘Do this in remembrance of me.’ The words are taken from Luke 22:19, the part of the story where Jesus has his last meal with his followers.
The word remembrance is not a common word, so in my child’s mind I translated it to mean, ‘When you do this, remember me.’ It was easier for me to understand it that way. In other words, ‘when you have communion, call me to mind; or reflect on me.’ And I do, whether it is Holy Week or not, I take what Christ did for me in to consideration.
When we do this together, it bonds us as believers; cements us a Christians. There is unity in sharing the pain of God, but the disciples didn’t even know that is what they were doing. I am sure they noticed the oddity of the meal, I mean it started with Jesus washing their feet instead of a servant. Then he talked in riddles the rest of the evening, because he knew something they did not…they were about to be dis-membered.
Dis-member- to scatter, disperse, divide into parts, to cut off the limbs.
They scattered. They hid. They dispersed. Not understanding what was happening, they were afraid. They responded to the events in fear. Peter tried to take out the soldier by cutting off his ear. The others ran. John stood at the foot of the cross weeping. Even Judas, didn’t know what he was doing when he gave up on taking over the government and took blood money instead.
Of course, Jesus knew all this would happen. He covered their eyes and clouded their understanding until the appointed time…when the rooster crowed. Then, they realized their betrayal. They saw how quickly they abandoned the one who had just washed their feet.
You could say they were living in unprecedented times. (There’s that word again.) Confusion was happening and what they had expected, a new kingdom, didn’t occur. In fact, the opposite was true. Any chance they had to lead was removed, because they were looking at it all wrong. They were looking to man’s systems to be the answer. They thought control was going to win the day, that is, until they were dis-membered.
Way back in the beginning, there were two named trees in the Garden of Eden. The tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil and the tree of Life. A choice was made to know good and evil, and we have been living with that choice ever since. To know one from the other, both have to be present.
The disciples were thinking about the good that could come with Jesus in charge. Everything would be right and they would help make it so. They didn’t know there was an unseen kingdom. Instead, they found themselves in a swirling storm of evil. The wind of the triumphal entry, turned from ‘crown him’ to ‘crucify him’ in minutes. They would soon ask the age-old question, Why? These are the questions of good and evil. Why did this happen? Why didn’t God stop it from happening? Why would a good God allow suffering like this? Instead of seeking life, they chose to stay grounded in the fearful reality in which they were living, dis-memberment.
But then later, after the Resurrection, came the great re-membering:
“When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.” Luke 24:30-31
The fog of good and evil was lifted and they could clearly see LIFE. Where they had been scattered, they came together. They re-membered the body. Unified in mind and purpose, they stopped talking about taking over and gave testimony to what they had witnessed. They shared the story, the good news, everywhere they went. People were drawn to the life they carried, not their opinions or their charisma.
We are living in a time unlike any before it. We are confused and fearful. We don’t know what is going to happen, but we know it is not what we were expecting. We lash out, like Peter. We weep, like John. We hide. We betray what we know to be true for something more expedient, like Judas. We react in fear.
We have questions. Why a pandemic? Why doesn’t God stop it? Why does he allow suffering? It seems our eyes are clouded with the questions of good and evil, and we have lost sight of life. What if there is more than what we can see? What if the rug is being pulled out from under us isn’t the point? What if this is bigger than that? We were not in unity before this pandemic, but now we are forcibly dis-membered in our homes. Or are we?
It all depends on how you look at it. Good vs. Evil or Life? Your choice. Your question. Why or What? Why is this happening or what do we do now? Why doesn’t God stop this or what is he doing to bring life in the midst of it? What if it is not about the disease or our economy? What if comfort is not his goal for us? What if he is more interested in our character? What if this whole thing is about our individual hearts? What is the bigger picture here?
Our families are experiencing more togetherness than we have had in a very long time. We are reconnecting with people via the internet. People are seeking how to help those on the frontlines. Kindness is a thing again. Our idols are being removed. Our systems are falling. Our dependence on ourselves is giving way to helping each other. We are being humbled. We are going deep.
Is it hard? Yes. Is it going to be difficult? Yes, pride is slow to die. Are our expectations going to be shattered? Most definitely. Are the things we were trusting in to save us going to? Nope. But, when all is said and done, our eyes will be opened. Our hearts will be tender. Brokenness is a tough tenderizer. We will come out of what we thought would happen, and instead we will look for life. When we get to come back to the table, we will look at it with different eyes; the eyes of understanding. We will see the command to unify more clearly.
“When you do this…re-member me.”