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Remembrance and Worship

September, 2000

By Rev. Jim Craig

Luke 22.19

And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."

There are three ways in which the believer and the believing community are called upon to remember in the act of worshiping.

Remembrance is the servant of worship. Remembrance serves as the basis of our worship and brings worship into existence. Remembrance is inseparably tied to worship, for to worship is to ascribe worth. Without remembrance, worship cannot exist. Remembrance for us is:

Remembrance for us is not:

God responds to human action by remembering it. Psalm 20.4 declares, "May He remember all your offerings, and accept your burnt sacrifice." God remembers human worship because it brings Him pleasure. Since remembrance brings something to mind, it might be said the remembrance is synonymous with acceptance.

Remembrance for God is:

God not only accepts the offering, He prescribes (establishes, institutes) the places where this is to happen as part of His covenant with His people. In Exodus 20.24, at Sinai, God declares, "In every place where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you." The word "record" means to cause to be honored, or literally, to cause to be remembered. God blesses His people by it. Remembering God also implies trust in Him, submission and undivided loyalty to Him. Psalm 20.7, 8: "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. Theyhave bowed down and fallen; but we have risen and stand upright." The word "remember" literally means,"to bring to mind" and is directly linked to trust.

Remembrance for us is:

Remembering God also implies an invoking of His presence. "And he [David] appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to commemorate (make petition), to thank, and to praise the Lord God of Israel." (1 Chronicles 16.4) The word "commemorate" literally means "to bring to mind, to invoke." Remembrance for us is:

Remembering false gods is equivalent to invoking and worship them, and is linked to serving them before God. Joshua tells us that to remember false gods is to worship them. In Joshua 23.7, 8 we read, "You shall not make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause anyone to swear by them; you shall not serve them nor bow down to them, but you shall hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have done this day." We are not to make mention, to bring to mind, the names of false gods. Literally, this means that we are not to invoke false gods. We are not to serve or to bow down to false gods.

Remembrance for us is

The worshiper remembers Godís covenants and their requirements. Remembrance of God is reflecting on His acts and recollecting His mighty deeds so as to better understand Him and worship Him. Remembering the mighty act of Godís creation is linked to the establishment and observance of the Sabbath day.

In Exodus 20.8-11, we have in the fourth commandment: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no workÖfor in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earthÖ" Here remembrance is a mandate from God. The establishment of the Sabbath day is the equivalent of God saying, "Do this in remembrance of Me." Remembrance takes the form (ceremony, institution) of an act of Godís people, namely the cessation from labor. The "keeping the Sabbath day holy," takes the form of an observation (ceremony) that is linked to the remembrance of the mighty act of God in creation. Remembering the Sabbath day keeps it holy, sets it apart as a perpetual reminder of Godís act, and serves Him as a form of worship.

Deuteronomy 5.12, 15: "Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded youÖAnd remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day."

Not only are we to observe the Sabbath day as a remembrance of what God had done in creation, the act of observance also serves as a perpetual reminder that Israel had been delivered from the bondage of slavery.

In the festivals of Passover and Unleavened Bread, God once again commands remembrance. Exodus 13.3: "And Moses said to the people: ĎRemember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out of this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. You shall eat no leavened bread with it [the Passover]; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread with it, that is, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), that you may remember the day in which you came out of Egypt all the days of your life.í" (Deuteronomy 16.3)

Not only was Israel to observe the Passover and days of Unleavened Bread as a remembrance of what God had done to deliver them out of Egypt, but also the act of observance served as a perpetual reminder to bring the redemptive event back to mind. "ĎSo this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.í ĎSo you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance.í" (Exodus 12.14, 17)

The Lordís Supper was instituted by Christ as the New Covenant expression of the Passover-Unleavened Bread ceremony of the Old Testament. Just as the Passover-Unleavened Bread ceremony was to be celebrated as a reminder of the exodus redemptive event, so also the Lordís Supper was to be a perpetual reminder of the new and greater exodus by which all sinners could find release from sinís bondage and deliverance into a new and everlasting life through Jesus Christ. The Lordís Supper, therefore, is a remembrance that ascribes worth to Jesus Christ as Creator/Redeemer, an act of worship done in remembrance of Him.

© 2000 Mary Craig Ministries, Inc.

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