Do This in Remembrance of Me

November 19, 2012

Excerpt from 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

When he had given thanks, he broke the bread and said, "This is my body that is for you.  Do this in remembrance of me."

Reflection by Martin B. Copenhaver

If memories are deep and have a hold on us, they will soon be beyond the reach of words.  If our memories are powerful they simply outgrow words, and one longs for something more than a story.  We want something that looks and feels more like life itself.  Beyond the travelogue, we want in some way to make the journey again.  One wants to do something.  Do this in remembrance.

In this connection, I think of fishing, of all things.  For me, a person who usually strives to do something productive with my hours, it is a most improbable way to spend an afternoon.  But fishing means something more to me.

You see, I used to fish with my father and now everything about it reminds me of him.  The sound of the tackle box when I carry it.  The smell of the box when I open it.  The distant splash of a lure after a good, long cast.  The intent fisherman's stare at the surface of the water.

So, soon after my father's death, I took an afternoon off and went fishing.  I could have spent the afternoon talking about my father, telling stories, reading old letters.  But in some mysterious way, this was something more.  Words are not always enough.

Do this in remembrance.  Do this because you remember.  Do this in order to remember.

Jesus obviously knew how important it would be for his followers to have something more than stories to tell.  He wanted to give them something to do in remembrance.  What he chose was a simple meal, something they had shared many times, and would share many times after he is gone.  Because Jesus chose such an everyday event he gave his followers ample opportunity to remember… by doing.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank you for giving us a simple meal through which we remember and are drawn close to you again and again.

About the Author
Martin B. Copenhaver is Senior Pastor, Wellesley Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Wellesley, Massachusetts. He is the author, with Lillian Daniel, of This Odd and Wondrous Calling: the Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers.

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