This do in remembrance of…..who?
Man has an interesting ability to make anything and everything something about themselves. As was recently pointed out to me, even when we put away pride in our lives it’s not long before our mind is saying, “You know, I’m doing a great job at not being so prideful. I bet I’m doing a better job than anyone else at not being prideful.”
And every Sunday Christians around the world come together to partake of the Lord’s Supper. They partake of the emblems that Christ used to represent his impending sacrifice, unleavened bread to represent his body and the fruit of the vine to represent his blood.
And often they stand at a table inscribed with the words Jesus used when He instituted the Lord’s Supper–“This do in remembrance of me”
But when we prepare our minds to partake of those emblems, what do we often think of? Well, I can tell you what I often think of and what I’ve encouraged other people to think of…..me….us.
I’ve talked about and thought about the terrible sins that I’ve committed and the terrible price that was paid for me and what kind of person I should be because of how bad I’ve been in the past.
And I know why I’ve talked about and thought about those things. Because guilt can be such a powerful motivator. If I can make myself feel enough guilt and provoke enough guilty feelings in you, and remind you of all of that guilt every week, maybe we’ll stop acting like a bunch of idiots Monday-Saturday.
It’s a noble cause, but a flawed one. And it’s flawed for a couple of reasons.
- One–Because while guilt is a powerful motivator, it’s also a very fickle one. Guilt is an emotion that makes us feel uncomfortable. And while at first it may motivate us to change our behavior, after a while our hearts will realize that we can also get rid of guilt by just ignoring it. By letting our conscience become seared. And then guilt isn’t effective at all.
- Two–Because the whole point of Christ dying on the cross was so that we wouldn’t have to be reminded of our past sins.
Look at what the Hebrew writer says in Hebrews 10:1-4 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
In the old law there was a remembrance of sins every year. With every sacrifice that was made the Israelites knew that their sins hadn’t been forgiven. That the sins of all the past years were just stacking up and the pile was getting bigger and bigger every year.
Every year the Israelites got the same guilt trip talk that I’ve been giving myself every Sunday.
Now guilt has it’s place. We should certainly feel guilt over the rebellion that we’ve shown toward God. But I’ve come to the conclusion that the Lord’s Supper probably isn’t the place for that guilt.
And I’ve come to that conclusion because of what Christ told us when He instituted the Lord’s Supper. He told us to partake of those emblems in remembrance of Him. The old law was about remembering our sins. The new covenant is about remembering the sacrifice that Christ made for us. Christ’s blood can now wash away our old sins. They’re not stacked up and pushed forward for us to drag them back out every Sunday. They’re gone.
And what we’re told to focus on is Christ. Not ourselves. Not what we have done in the past. Not what we can do better in the future. But what what Christ did, that we could never have done.
I’d encourage you to ask yourself the question I asked myself recently….Am I partaking of the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Eric, or remembrance of Christ?
Remembering the love of Christ rather than the guilt of our own sin provokes us to love Him. And love is the emotion that we won’t ignore, it’s the emotion that we’ll crave more of. Remembering the love of Christ is what provokes us to keep the greatest command, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.