In Rembrance…In Unity

Today is Worldwide Communion Sunday. I love this Sunday. I loved it when I was a pastor. I observed it in all the denominations I worked with. The thought and feeling of partaking of the Lord’s Supper along with believers all over the world moves me, encourages me, humbles me. Today was no exception.

Today I worshipped outdoors with a group of people I have only met with twice before. The weather was perfect. The message clear and inspiring. Two of the pastor’s points stuck out to me.

First, he described a study that was done in which people were asked what their favorite phrase in the English language were. The number one response was, “I love you.” Understandable. Don’t we all love to hear that? Also high on the list, and pertinent to the message, “Dinner’s ready!”

Time to eat. Come and get it. Come and dine. Come to the table. Do you remember how you were called to dinner as a child? I don’t have particularly fond memories of dinnertime as a child–but oh how precious those shared meals became when shared them with friends in college, and later with community in the church.

The pastor’s text was Jesus invitation to the crowd as recorded in John 6. Everybody was invited. Everyone was included. Y’all come.

Who doesn’t want to hear that? We may need a bigger table.

The second thing that hooked my heart was the concept of remembrance. Living with Mom I’m daily dealing with issues of memory: odd rememberances, distorted memories, lost memories. Hers and mine!

As I sat in the gathering on Sunday morning, one question percolated to the top: What do you want me to remember today God? It seemed like a simple question, but it brought on a whole slew of recollections. They came in waves: communion services from across the years; faces of clergy mentors and friends; different places; and different times.

Sitting alone, in a gathering where I knew no one, I drew comfort in the sense not only of God being present, but with me–speaking my name. Just as the bubbling memories spoke to the how there had been people all along in this journey of faith, the Spirit gave clear assurance that even now when I felt so incredibly alone…I was not, and would never be.

Remembering this, hearing this, feeling this prods me to wonder if you, dear reader might be feeling alone. Jesus calls you to the table. There is clearly not just space, but a space for you. As you take your seat, please remember the times and places where God has brought you into the company of others as a means of assuring you of your place in the family, and God’s great grace and provision for us all.

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Y’all, come.

Rebuilding With Nehemiah, Chapter 9 Day 5

Friday: Do We Learn From History?

Text: 16 “But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands. 17 They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. (Neh. 9:16-17a)

Neh 9 history words

Teach: Reading through Nehemiah 9:16-30 we find the ups and downs of God’s people. Their experience is summed up pretty well in our text for today. What was the root of their up and down relationship? Arrogance, disobedience, and lack of remembering. They forgot how they got to where they were. They began to think they could handle things all on their own. And as a result the walked in disobedience.

Take: Remember. So often we live as spiritual amnesiacs. Some of Jesus’ final words to his followers came at the Last Supper: this do in remembrance of me. Don’t forget. Daily Bible reading isn’t merely an exercise to cross off our “to do” list. It’s the process by which we keep on remembering.

Task: What miracles has God performed in your life? Take time to remember, and give thanks.

Neh 9 history

Rebuilding with Nehemiah, Chapter 4, Day 5

Friday: What to do with the Whiners
Text: 12 The Jews who lived near the enemy came and told us again and again, “They will come from all directions and attack us!”[e] 13 So I placed armed guards behind the lowest parts of the wall in the exposed areas. I stationed the people to stand guard by families, armed with swords, spears, and bows.
14 Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!” (Nehemiah 4:12-14, NLT)

SP Neh 4 frustration wall

They were surrounded. The situation looked and felt grim. And I’m imagining there were many who were feeling hopeless.

So Nehemiah recruited more people to protect the vulnerable spots. And then he called them to remember.

“Remember the great and glorious God who has called you to this task, who has protected you and provided everything you need.”

“And remember why you are doing this. This is no mere exercise in futility. We’re not looking to win a beautification award. No, we are building this wall to protect ourselves and make a better life for our wives and children.”

SP Neh 4 Remember stone

We read the stories in the Old Testament where the people were called to remember what God had done. They rehearsed and reminded themselves regularly. Then when they found themselves in a difficult situation the truth was not a far off concept, but one upon which they could depend.

The same holds true for the writers of the New Testament. Paul was clear on this with the Philippian believers. “It’s no hardship for me to write of these things again,” he told them. He knew the power of remembering what God has done and what he promises to do.

Perhaps you know what it’s like to feel surrounded and hopeless. Remember God. Remember he has called you to the task. Remember he promises to not just give you life, but joy.

WP Neh dev 4-5 thrive