Telling the Old Story

Lest we forget.

To never forget.
Around the time most will receive this edition of the Record, Canadians will take time to observe Remembrance Day. It is how we reflect on the tremendous sacrifice made by so many Canadian men and women and their families. It is a time to tell the next generations that the life we share together in Canada had a price; and that price was willingly paid.

“Lest we forget.”
As I write this, I am also preparing for World Communion Sunday. There are significant parallels between Remembrance Day and Communion Sundays. We remember great sacrifice willingly made. We remember our freedom is the result of that sacrifice. We set aside times to commemorate both of these remembrances. We share with the next generations how blessed we are so that we never forget.

“Do this in remembrance of me.”
As the memory of the great wars fade, with most of Canadians alive today born after the end of World War II, it will take much intentionality to keep the significance of Remembrance Day alive. With fewer living veterans and diminished Canadian Legion membership, our children and grandchildren must take on the promise made to never forget. It is our responsibility to pass along the great debt of gratitude Canadians of succeeding generations owe.

Again, there is a parallel with Communion. Fewer and fewer Canadians attend churches and participate in the Lord’s Supper. The Sacrament of Holy Communion is not known or understood by the vast majority of Canadians. Even in some churches, Communion has lost its power as people practice the ritual but have become theologically detached from the God-Man Jesus. They share at the table of Jesus while believing His death and resurrection, if Jesus ever existed at all, is a myth concocted in the early centuries of the Christian era.

In my visits to congregations across Canada, I couldn’t help but notice that Communion was often elevated in the churches displaying renewal and growth. Many of them, for example, celebrate around the Lord’s Table monthly instead of quarterly. I also have noticed that the observance is moulded to both be open to children and youth but also understandable by them.

Could it be that one of the impetuses of renewal is going back and “telling the old, old story”? Rehearsing again, sometimes in fresh and creative ways, the awesome truths that “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”

“Do this in remembrance of me.”

Published in The Presbyterian Record on November 1, 2015.