Remember: A Letter to West Franklin
West Franklin Family,
For years after my paternal grandfather died, suddenly – without warning – in a boating accident while fishing, my grandmother kept a picture of her husband of over 50 years beside her bed. I never asked her why, but I imagine because she was scared to death of forgetting. I imagine a terror in her soul that she might go a day or a week or a short season when she didn’t think about him.
To be sure, I have never lost a spouse. I haven’t even been married half as many years as the two of them. So at the end of the day, I don’t know. But I do know that we humans are prone to forget. We are prone to let the “out of sight, out of mind” thing be real. Other things crowd our thinking. People and things we don’t see regularly get put on the back burner (if on any burner at all). We don’t mean to. We don’t intend to. It just happens. We are prone to wander – yes, we fell it – prone to forget what is not in front of us.
Add to this the fact that we can just be plain forgetful. Car keys. An appointment. Returning an email or a phone call. A recommendation for someone. Milk at the store. Someone’s birthday (mine is March 22nd, so you’re good). To add sugar when making cookies. To change the laundry over. A child (it happens. . . just ask Mary and Joseph). Feed the dog. Get the oil changed. A wedding anniversary. To put the seat down. A bill needing to be paid.
We can and do forget. It’s weird isn’t it? We can literally forget the most important of things. Things that are critical for vitality.
It’s true for our everyday lives. And, unfortunately, it is true for our souls. How easily we forget what is critical for our vitality.
Have you noticed how we (myself included) Christians have forgotten the main thing recently? Masks. COVID-19. Trump. Biden. Black Lives Matter. Stimulus. End Times. Plague/Pandemic. On-line church. Masks. Return of Sports. Hot spots. Quarantine. Positive tests. Asymptomatic. Rise in cases. Temperature check. Half capacity. Unemployment. Work from home. Zoom. Masks. Traditional school. Virtual learning. No hospital visits. Ten people at a funeral. Wedding celebrations dramatically reduced. Shortness of breath. Diarrhea. Masks. Hugging. Social distancing. Facebook. Charlie Daniels. Kobe Bryant. Kelly Preston. Hugh Downs (which, by the way, is incredibly ironic that he passed during 2020). Little Richard. John Prine. Joe Diffey. Kenny Rogers. Masks.
I mean. . . .
This is A. LOT.
It’s easy to forget, isn’t it?
Of all the things Jesus could have told us to remember, He commanded one thing. One. “Do this in remembrance of Me.” The Supper. The Table. Bread. Wine (or juice if you’re Southern Baptist). Eat. Drink. Remember.
There is one thing Jesus told us to remember because He knew how easily we would forget. One thing we must remember for the sake of our soul’s vitality.
Remember what He did. Remember what’s He’s going to do.
Paul said to do it – proclaiming the Lord’s death until He comes. If we do this, this thing of remembering, we will keep things in perspective. He died and rose again – just as He said. He is coming again – just as He promised. This crazy unforgettable (though we will all want to forget) season is a blip in the history of the universe.. His History. His Story. His promise of hope now (because of what He has done for us) and hope forever (because He’s coming).
I am beginning to see why other denominations partake every Sunday. 2020 has been kind of like my neighborhood on the 4th of July. Bright and loud and frightening explosions in the sky – everywhere – while the beautiful moon remained there all along, sitting quietly until the smoke settled. Sometimes (a lot of times) we need to simply pause and ponder the moon. Sometimes (a lot of times) we need to pause and remember who and whose we are.
Tomorrow morning we will remember. Remember what everything – ultimately – is all about. Remember where it’s headed. Remember we are a family – His family. Remember we are worth dying for. Remember where history is moving. Remember it’s all going to be okay.
Tomorrow morning we are going to get to do something I have always desired. Have everyone – every member, every follower of Jesus who belongs to our church family – observe the Supper and remember. For as long as I have been a pastor, I have desired that every member be “forced” to attend and partake. Not to be a bully pastor. But simply to be “forced” to remember what it is all about. We so easily forget. Though most of you will not be in the room, now (thanks to COVID-19) all of us can participate together. Whether on vacation or not feeling well or being cautious or enjoying your jammies while attending “Bedside Baptist” – all of us can remember.
It will look different. It will feel different. It will be different. But the point will remain the same: Remember Jesus.
Tomorrow we will sing to and about Jesus. I will preach about Elijah’s depression. We will pray and welcome. We will tell you for the 908th time how to give of your tithes and offerings. I urge you to join us. For the good of your own soul, join us. Get a cracker. Squirt some purple Mio in a bottle of water. Have it ready. Let’s remember together.
I mean. . .
I need it. Don’t you?
Proclaiming Until He Comes,