July 14, 2019

Too Important to Forget
I Corinthians 11:23-28

The older I get, the less I remember. They say it’s normal, but normal or not, my decreased power of memory is awfully aggravating and sometimes downright embarrassing.

Some of you know what I’m talking about, don’t you? You know what it’s like to leave your car in the mall parking lot and struggle to find it after a few hours of shopping.

And yes, we’ve all had those experiences of walking into a room to get something and once in the room we’ve forgotten what it was we came to get.

Yes, my memory is not what it used to be, but despite my failing memory, I realize that some things must be remembered. Some things are just too important to forget.

I can get away with forgetting my parking place at the mall, but I’d be in real trouble if I forgot my anniversary or my wife’s birthday. Yes, despite the natural ineptitude of my memory loss, there are some things I can’t afford to forget.

So I use memory devices to help me. I’ve got a “to do list” to remind me what I must do here at church. I live by the Calendar and the “The Reminders” apps on my smart phone. These days I tell Alexa to give me reminders. And at home, sometimes I put up Post It Notes to remind me of things I can’t afford to forget. Yes, because some things are too important to forget we find ways to be sure we remember.

Jesus knew about our memories. Jesus knew once he left the earth, some of us would get so busy or so tired we would forget. We would forget about the significance of his life. We would forget about the meaning of his death. We would become so preoccupied with our lives, we’d forget about the commitments we made to Christ.

That’s why we have the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper is the memory device left to us by Christ. It’s almost like a Post It Note Christ left for us, a note reminding us not to forget.

Today’s text talks about remembering. Listen as I read our text in 1 Corinthians 11:23-28.

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.

Yes, the Lord’s Supper is our Spiritual Post It Note, it’s that reminder that helps us remember those things that are just too important to forget.

What are those things that are too important to forget? The first is this.

I. The Lord’s Supper Helps Us Remember The Cost of God’s Love

The other day I saw a bumper sticker on the back of a car. The stars and stripes of the American flag served as the bumper sticker’s background. The foreground contained two numbers – 9/11. The words on the sign simply read “We will never forget.”

About the time I saw the bumper sticker I passed by an elementary school were children were out playing. As I thought about the bumper sticker I began to wonder about those children and then thought about my grandchildren. Granted, you and I will never forget the events of 9-11. We can tell you where we were and what we were doing on that fateful day. But 15 or 20 years from now when these children become adults, they will not have the vivid memories you and I have. At best, they will be familiar with the date because they’ve read about it in some history book, but they won’t remember the pain, the suffering, that feeling of total devastation you and I could never forget.

Even good people forget. They forget about the pain and the suffering that bought them freedom, life and love. Even good Christians forget. We forget the pain and the suffering that bought us freedom, life and love. We forget the cost of God’s love.

Week after week we come to church and enjoy the fruits of our Christian life. We sing about walking and talking with God. We take comfort in the solace of his Word. We find strength in the fellowship we have with other Christians, and we hold hope for life eternal because of our relationship to Christ. But, too often, we take these things for granted without reflecting upon the cost of the love that bought these benefits.

The cost of God’s love is something Christ did not want us to forget, so he gave us these symbols to help us remember. He gave us the bread to help us remember that his love came at the cost of a broken body. He gave us the wine to help us remember that his love came at the cost of shed blood. Obviously, Christ wants us to enjoy the fruit of his love, but at the same time, he does not want us to forget what his love cost.

That’s why we come here to the Lord’s Table today. We come here so we will not forget the pain and suffering that gave us new life. We come here because the cost of Christ’s love is too important to forget.

But we also come here to remember something else. We observe the Lord’s Supper because,

II. The Lord’s Supper helps us Remember the Promises We’ve Made to God
This act we observe today is not only a reminder of what Christ did for us, but it’s a reminder of what we have promised to do for him. When we come to the bread and the wine we are reminded that we have made commitments. We have made a commitment to live our lives like Christ. We have made a commitment to sacrifice our time, our money, our influence, and our self-centered living to follow the example of Christ.

That’s why Paul tells the people at Corinth to examine themselves when they come to the Lord’s table. In verses 27-28 he states, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.

Yes, the observance of communion is not a time to just remember what Christ has done for us. It’s a time to remember what we have promised to do for him.

Yes, Jesus knew we would get so busy with the other things in our lives, we would forget our commitment to him. That’s why he gave us the Lord’s Supper, because he knew our obligations to him were too important to forget.

Perhaps some of you have been to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. I understand the memories it evokes leave an everlasting impression on the mind of each person who visits.

A book called Offerings at the Wall tells of the mementos left at the Memorial Wall by those who visit. One man left dog tags, a headband, and a letter that reads, “To all of you here from Echo Company, 1st Marine Regiment, I leave you my headband which contains my sweat from the war, my dog tag, and a picture of me and Mike. I’ll never forget you.”

A woman left a braid of hair and a picture of a house with an American flag hanging at the porch. Her note read, “Wayne, I think of you every day and miss you so much. I love you.”

Written on one flag was this message: “May all of you who died, all of you still missing, and all of you who returned home never be forgotten.”

Yes, these people bring mementos to the wall because they realize the importance of remembering. They realize the price that these men and women paid for love of country, and they realize the obligation of love to those left behind.

The wall of remembrance in our place today is not a wall but a table; a table with the mementos of one who died for us, one who paid the price of love with his very own life. As we come to the table today, it is important for us to remember. To remember the price Christ paid for his love, and to remember the commitments we have made to him.
Yes, Jesus knew about our memories, and he gave us an aid so we wouldn’t forget. May we come to the table he has given to us and once again remember those things which are just too important to forget.