LET US BE REMINDED
“Do this in remembrance of me.”
At our end of year staff luncheon, Donna Hill asked each of us what ‘super hero power’ we would like to have if we could? Men nearly always reply, “Fly”, while women usually give a variety of far more practical answers. Upon reflection, I considered whether I should have answered differently (I didn’t answer “to be able fly unaided”, as most men would).
Considering my various weaknesses, I now think that I would reply, “A super memory!” I think we would all benefit from having better memories. In the TV series, “Suits”, Mike Ross is a young man with the gift of a photographic memory. Despite not having a law degree, he passes the Bar to become a lawyer because his photographic memory allows him to speed read all of the legal text books required for a law degree and of course his ability to recall what he has just read comes in handy as well. While there may be some people who possess this kind of talent in real life, it is not true for most of us. Which is why being remindedis built into how God commands us to worship.
¶ Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel,
Second Timothy 2:8
WORSHIP INVOLVES REMEMBERING
Paul, writing to the Ephesians, via Timothy, tells them: (i) Remember Jesus Christ; (ii) Remember that He rose from the dead; (iii) Remember He is the fulfilment of all that was promised to the Jews in the Old Testament; (iv) Remember what you have already heard preached to you. Remembering is most difficult when it is done in isolation from others. I did two years of Bible Greek. It involved sitting 10 exams which in turn resulted in having to translate into English some randomly selected parts of the New Testament and explain the technical backgrounds to several randomly selected Greek words within that passage. I did this study by distance learning as a solo student. The course instructor strongly recommended that no student attempt to study Biblical Greek this way because it is so difficult to do so without the benefit of other students also learning the material with you. Having done (and passed) this course of study, I have to agree with my old instructor. Remembering is best done with others.
As you read through the Old Testament, note how often God calls His people to remember together. He decreed seven feasts for them keep each year as a community reminder (Lev. 23). He imbedded into the Ten Commandments a command that specifically begins with the word, “Remember” (Exo. 20:8). They were to wear certain things on their clothing designed to help them to continually be reminded about God’s commandments (Num. 15:39). They were to remember what God had done for them and continually remind their children (Deut. 5:15).
Worship begins by remembering. Worship is informed by being reminded. This is the pastor’s main responsibility in preaching, to remind. It is also why it is imperative that we gather together (at least) each Sunday as God has ordained (1Cor. 16:2; Heb. 10:25) to remind and be reminded – because we each forget the truth so quickly. C.S. Lewis described the Enemy’s strategy against the believer to be focussed on isolation. In his book, Screwtape Letters, an experienced demon tells a inexperienced demon that they way to keep people from their Enemy (God) could be achieved by isolation. If you can, the older Demon says, keep your target from reading the Enemy’s book (the Bible) and evening talking to Him (prayer), but above all, keep them from the gathering and fellowship of those who belong to the Enemy! Get them distracted! Have them lessen their priority to always gather with the Enemy’s people. Offer them sport, entertainment, sleep – do whatever it takes to keep the subject away from the Enemy’s people (the church). In the Screwtape Letters, the younger demon fails and Hell loses yet another soul to torment for eternity – because the sweetness and attraction of the worshipping church community prevails.
¶ All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the LORD,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before you.
While the Psalmist looked forward to all the world remembering who God is and what He has done, I think we should begin with his second part of Psalm 22:27 (a slightly more modest ambition) and look forward to those we regularly interact with – our family, our neighbours, our friends, our work colleagues – each remembering the LORD and coming together into His house and worshipping Him. And since the author of Psalm 22 has so accurately and precisely seen the first part of this Messianic Psalm fulfilled, I think he probably has a good chance of seeing his second part fulfilled as well – especially if we remember to each gather together this Sunday to worship the Lord as he prophesied. Let’s remember that God wants to see the Tamar Valley turn to Him!