This weekend our nation celebrates Memorial Day. It is a day in which our country remembers the dead servicemen of all wars. Major General John A. Logan first celebrated Memorial Day in Waterloo, New York on May 5, 1866 to honor soldiers killed in the American Civil War (World Book Encyclopedia Online Edition).
Memorials are found throughout the Bible and history in general. Memorial is defined as “serving to help people remember some person or event” (Webster’s New World Dictionary).
We are called upon to remember those in prison for the cause of Christ. The brethren in Jerusalem earnestly prayed for Peter, “Peter therefore was kept in the prison: but prayer was made earnestly of the church unto God for him” (Acts 12:5). We are to “Remember them that had the rule over you, men that spake unto you the word of God; and considering the issue of their life, imitate their faith” (Hebrews 13:7). Paul wanted the Thessalonians to remember him and called upon the Ephesians to pray for him. 1 Thessalonians 3:6, “…that ye have good remembrance of us always, longing to see us, even as we also (to see) you.” Ephesians 6:19-20, “And on my behalf, that utterance may be given unto me in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” The Hebrew writer called upon the Hebrews to remember the great cloud of witnesses that had gone before. Hebrews 12:1-3, “Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of (our) faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that hath endured such gainsaying of sinners against himself, that ye wax not weary, fainting in your souls.” And most of all let us remember Jesus. As we observe the Lord’s Supper in particular, let us think of the words, “this do in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24).
There are a number of memorials in the Bible. The Passover Feast was a memorial of God’s deliverance of Israel from the bondage of Egypt (Exodus 3:15; 12:14). Twelve stones were placed near Jericho where Israel had crossed the Jordan river as a memorial of the miraculous crossing into the promised land (Joshua 4:6-7, 9). In the observance of these memorials there was the valuable opportunity to teach the mighty works of God. Exodus 12:26-27, “And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? that ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of Jehovah’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.” Joshua 4:21-22 says, “And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.” And certainly the Lord’s Supper serves as a memorial of the suffering, death and promised return of the Lord (Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
There is a purpose of memorials. The Passover reminded Israel of their history and their future. It looked to the day when the Messiah would die for the people. The stones in the Jordan reminded Israel of God’s power and grace in bringing them into the land of Canaan. The Lord’s Supper reminds us of our Lord’s sacrifice for our sins. This should motivate us to live for Him, and to serve Him diligently. As long as we faithfully serve the Lord and observe His Supper we will remember Him and the great things He has done!
Memorials are very important for a nation, for the family, and especially is it important that the church keep the memorial of the Lord.
I Press, Lancaster, CA, 5/30/2010