Remember with Thanks 08-05-20
A Bible Reading: Luke 22:19-20,18
Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."
2,000 years ago, when Jesus was facing the unseen enemy of sin and death, he began an act of remembrance we call the ‘Eucharist’, a word which literally means ‘thanksgiving’ or ‘gratitude’. At the end of an elaborate Jewish act of remembrance, the Passover, Jesus took the simple things from the meal, the bread and the wine, broke the bread and said, ‘Do this in remembrance of me’. We have turned this simple act of remembrance into something elaborate in our churches and I often wonder if this is what Jesus intended. During lockdown, I wonder if we are rediscovering the simplicity of remembering Jesus whenever we break bread around the table in our homes?
Today, 75 years after VE Day, we remember with thanksgiving those who gave their lives in the 2nd World War. But we remember, not with elaborate street parties or large family gatherings, but within the confines of our own homes as we fight a different battle, a battle against an unseen enemy. And so we have found new and simple ways to remember. We remember with TV and radio and with conversations at a distance with our neighbours or over the internet with our families.
In another new and simple act of remembrance, clapping outside our homes at 8.00 pm on Thursdays, we remember with thanksgiving those working in our NHS who put their lives on the line, and some losing their lives, in order to save the lives of those who are seriously ill in our hospitals.
Let us celebrate these new ‘Eucharists’, these celebrations of thanksgiving, both religious and secular, not as inferior alternatives, but as reminders that we can show gratitude to God and to each other in simple, but no less meaningful ways.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for all who have given their lives so that we can live in peace and freedom. We also thank you for those who put their lives on the line for others today. Protect them and bless them we pray. But most of all we thank you for Jesus who gave his life so that we might live. Help us to live our lives in gratitude for the sacrifice of others and for the love that Jesus poured out for us on the cross.