It’s been seventeen years since the unimaginable terror of that nightmare day we refer to simply as 9/11. Sixteen times now we have noticed that day on the calendar and felt that ache of what was lost… so many precious lives, the general sense of safety on American soil, the naive innocence that never imagined it could happen here.
I guess the ache is deeper in my own heart this time having recently visited the site where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood. I walked through the streets and felt the gravity of that place just from knowing what had taken place. And, on a cool and rainy April morning, I walked up to the memorial pool in the footprint of the north tower.
(This is a brief video I took as I walked up to the memorial that gives just a momentary glimpse of the sight and sound.)
The names etched on stone, each one a life snuffed out by the insatiable hate of that act, seemed to whisper to me as I glanced across them, longing to be remembered. The sound of the water flowing endlessly through this elegant crater seemed to drown out the noise of the city around us. The realization of what we were seeing and the significance thereof caused people all around to speak in hushed tones and somber demeanor. Continue reading The Need to Remember
Letter writing is, it would seem, a lost art these days. The conventions of written communications from days gone by have been all but forgotten.
The Apostle Paul was skilled at such things as testified by the large percentage of the New Testament that was poured through his pen—all in the form of letters. These letters often find their first point of communication (beyond the salutation previously discussed) in an expression of gratitude for the ones to whom he wrote.
First Thessalonians was one of the earliest of Paul’s letters. It was written to a fellowship very dear to the Apostle’s heart. He begins with an assurance of his constance in prayer for them:
We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers… (1 Thess 5.2).
This is pretty routine, of course. It’s a pattern oft repeated. The apostle assures his readers that he prays for them and gives thanks for them. Then he explains the particular things about them that stir his gratitude:
…Remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess 5.3).
Continue reading Well-Remembered
From time to time gatherings of Jesus-followers pause to remember. We remember the depth and significance of the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf. We remember the love God has shown to us. We remember the price of our freedom. We remember the hopelessness of life without Jesus.
One of the most tangible, sensory-driven remembrances we have been given is the experience of the Lord’s Supper. While it is referenced in a number of ways, most christians recognize it as a fundamental ordinance of the church that ought to be a part of our worship experience on an intentional and regular basis (though there are a great number of opinions in regard to how often that ought to be).
Reflecting upon the biblical narrative of the night that Jesus transformed this observance from a ritual of the Law to a remembrance of grace, I find myself transfixed by the richness of sensory expression in this simple but tremendously significant act of eating a bite of bread and swallowing a sip of juice or wine. It’s striking and strong and beautiful.
The bread that Jesus broke and handed to the disciples was a picture of the breaking and tearing of his own body – on our behalf. He said we should eat of it in reflection of how we all have been given life through embracing his death in our place. Jesus, the one who said, “I am the bread of life,” made clear that only in partaking of his death would we have life. Continue reading Taste the Brokenness