Monday, May 21, 2018


The word is anamnesis.  It is a simple word.  We even have a day for it.  It means "Remembrance."

Jesus and the Jewish faith holds great stock in this word.  "Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy!" is the 4th Commandment from Exodus 20.  "Remember the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt!" is a command from Deuteronomy 5.  And Jesus tells the disciples to "Do this in remembrance of me!" in Luke 22:19.  All of these relate to the idea of remembering 3 things.

The first is to remember the past event or idea that happened.  The Hebrews were rescued from Egypt by God.  They are brought out of slavery.  The Jews are reminded that God rested on the 7th day so keep that day both holy and focused on God.  Jesus reminds the disciples that He is about to pour out His blood and give up His life for them.  We remember the event.

We also remember past the event to a more global meaning of that event.  The Hebrews would have never come out of Egypt without the persistence, power and provision of God.  The Sabbath was holy partly because it represents the modeling of God and the necessity of a day/time to reflect about the happenings of the week.  The last supper reminds us and the Hebrews of the angel of death passing over the Jews and the shadow of death passing over us because Jesus' action has forgiven us.

But I think the best thing about remembering is that it removes us from self.  We remember things bigger and more important than us.  The God that brought the people out of Egypt has been there since the beginning and God will be there even unto the ends of the earth.  That God is way bigger than my issues.  The Sabbath is holy and needed much more that I need my recreation, my extra sleep and my time to be a little lazy.  The idea of focusing on a God outside myself is both healthy and structural.  It allows me to properly order myself and God, with God being above all.  And remembering Jesus allows me to think about and give thanks for the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ ... all things bigger and more important than me.

Monday of next week is Memorial Day.  We will think of that word 'anamnesis' again.  We will remember those who considered country bigger than themselves.  We will think of specific events when our heroes sacrificed much.  We will think of the country and the idea of America ... something worth both living and dying for.  And I hope our thoughts of that day will move beyond self so we can honestly ask, "is my country more important that my petty needs?"  The song says it well ... "O beautiful for heroes proved, in liberating strife, who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life!,
America! America! May God thy gold refine.  Till all success be nobleness, and every gain divine!" 

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