United Church of Christ

Anamnesis

"He took bread, and after giving thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.' And he did the same with the cup after supper." - Luke 22:19-20

When Christians talk about Communion, we say it's a remembrance of Jesus, a memorial. Which is true, and scriptural, but also slightly misleading, as if what we're doing at the Table is reminiscing, like you would at a family wake or a school reunion.

But in the gospel's original Greek, the word for remembrance is stronger, edgier—anamnesis—literally, "against amnesia." Remembering Jesus in Communion is like standing up to an adversary. It's not reminiscence, it's resistance. It's not merely remembering, it's refusing to forget.

There are forces around us and within us that want us to forget what they've been up to for eons, wreaking havoc, taking up all the breathing room, wringing the life out of everything for ego, profit, and power.

They're always at it, trying to fog over all traces of Jesus' revolution in the world and in our hearts. They hope we'll lose his trail. They hope we'll forget we ever knew him.

When we forget, we're putty in their hands. When we forget, they can tell us anything they want, and we won't know they're lying. In the vacuum of forgetting, injustice has it easy, violence rules the day.

Communion is our uprising. At the Table, repeatedly, deliberately, dangerously, we remember. We remember him. We remember each other. We remember everything. We refuse to forget.

Prayer

Even if we do forget, dear Christ, by your mercy, it all comes back to us at the Table. Communion by Communion, evil retreats, love and justice grow. Thanks be to God.

About the Author
Mary Luti is a long time seminary educator and pastor, author of Teresa of Avila’s Way and numerous articles, and founding member of The Daughters of Abraham, a national network of interfaith women’s book groups.

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