Remembering Is Important
James E. Farley
It is a fact that time has a way of diminishing and even erasing the importance and significance of great men and great events in history. If we are not diligent and careful, and, if we do not take the necessary time to remember often, these can become just statistics and facts of history to be recorded and very seldom read about or contemplated. These can come to mean little to us. For instance, how many of the younger generation of Americans really stop to consider the significance of days like Memorial Day. Consider how few there are these days that see the real importance of December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day. Take some time to ask and then listen to some teenagers concerning September 11, 2001. A terrible tragedy befell our nation just a short while ago, and many have already forgotten the importance of even that day!
I recently read an excellent essay written by journalist and historian, Andrew Ferguson, concerning Abraham Lincoln’s bicentennial birthday this year (2009). Ferguson bemoaned the fact that the celebrations throughout the nation were few and that most were small and almost insignificant. He says that the celebrations were “half-hearted” and “inadequate” when we consider the stellar achievements of our 16th President. Mr. Ferguson compared this year’s celebrations with those in 1909 – Lincoln’s centennial birthday. He states that in 1909 there were many parades, concerts, balls, lectures, great military displays, etc., and that these were held throughout the nation. It was in 1909 that the Lincoln penny came into being, approved by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. In that year work began on the grand Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. In 1909 the first transcontinental thoroughfare was opened and was named “The Lincoln Highway.” Ferguson says that the people in 1909 had “a few inspirations we lack today.” Lincoln’s presidency was still very real to many living then; many still remembered him. He says, “In 2009 we are farther in time from the end of the Second World War than they were from the Civil War; families still felt the loss of loved ones from that awful national trauma.”
You know, the Bible has a great deal to say about the importance of remembering. Under the Old Testament law of Moses, they were to “Remember the Sabbath” and keep it holy. (Exodus 20:8). We read “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth…” (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Jesus admonishes us to remember to obey God completely with these words, “Remember Lot’s wife.” (Luke 17:32). We are encouraged to remember the words of the Lord. (Acts 20:35). Peter desired to “stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance …” (2 Peter 3:1-2). To the church at Ephesus, Jesus said, “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works.” (Revelation 2:5). Yes indeed, remembering is very important, is it not? God wants us to have good memories.
With just a little bit of unleavened bread and some fruit of the vine, our Lord instituted the Lord’s Supper so we can remember each week the suffering and death of Jesus the Christ! (Matthew 26:26-28; Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Acts 20:7). Now, many among the sectarian groups do this just once or twice each year. Others do it quarterly or monthly. They say that to do it upon each first day of the week would make it too commonplace. Too commonplace? Really! Can you imagine a true follower of the Meek and Lowly One saying that remembering his death on the cross, for us and in our stead, could possibly become “too common place”? Could this not be a fundamental reason why denominations drift to and fro, creating, and establishing new doctrines and churches all the time? They have forgotten. They have forgotten who is Lord! (Cf. Luke 6:46). They do not seek and strive to remember Him and who He really is. Generations have now grown up and died in these sectarian churches, and they just do not remember what real Christianity is all about. Brethren, let us never forget. Let us resolve to remember, and let us remain truly faithful to Him even as He is true and faithful toward us. –1179 Mark Wayne Dr., Louisa, KY 41230.
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