A few weeks ago, I headed into the city with some ladies from church for the EQUIP women’s conference. The day was made up of three talks – all connected to the theme of Life at the Table. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from that theme, maybe hospitality? But it was deeper than that.
The first talk was from Exodus 12, retelling that well-told story of the first Passover. The blood of the sacrificial lambs painted over the door frames and the judgement of God passing over his people. I imagined anew what it would have been like to live through this time. This was a costly, messy sacrifice. This would have been a scary, heart-wrenching night. But here we see God caring so deeply for his people that he worked powerfully to set them free. And it was an event so momentous that his people shared a meal every year to remember what God had done.
This talk about the first Passover was the entree – a simple overview to prepare us for the main course. The main course was all about the last Passover. The meal which Jesus shared with his disciples the night before his death.
This is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. (Luke 22:19)
This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. (Luke 22:20)
These words are so commonplace to us Christians now. But they were shocking and revolutionary when they were first spoken. Jesus was basically saying the Passover meal, that God’s people remembered every year, was all about him. He is the perfect sacrificial lamb. His blood passes over our sins. These are such history-changing, life-shaking truths. Do I think on these things as much as I should?
This brings me to the heart of this conference – remembrance. The annual Passover meal was to remember God delivering his people from Egypt. But now we have something so much greater to remember. The cross of Jesus. In the second talk, the speaker said that the cross is both the greatest evidence of our sin and the greatest evidence of God’s love. Isn’t that incredible?
I think we tend to downplay our sin. We forget how much we need God’s forgiveness. But we need it so deeply, we need someone to pass over our sin and absorb the pain and judgement. Remembering the cross means being confronted with my sin and my deep need. I’m called to love God with all my heart and mind and soul and strength, all the time. I don’t even come close to that. But it also means knowing that this deep need has been met. The price for my sin has been paid by Jesus. It was a costly, messy sacrifice, motivated by the deep love of my Father.
How often I forget this double truth of the cross! But how important it is to remember! This talk challenged me to keep coming back in remembrance. To keep reading the Bible, having conversations with Christian friends and listening to songs about the cross.
After lunch, there was one more talk. This one was on 1 Corinthians 11 and was basically the practical application of everything we’d heard so far. And it was a challenging practical application! The Corinthian church had a whole load of problems, but one of the big ones was a division between rich and poor – some people had so much to eat at the Lord’s Supper they were getting drunk, and some were going hungry.
The rich Christians probably didn’t intend to alienate the others. They were just being thoughtless. And this was the big challenge. Do I bring thoughtlessness and selfishness into church? It’s often so easy to surround myself with people like me, even at church. But the beauty of church is, even if we’re different in every other way, we’ve got something profound in common. We all rely on God’s mercy and all believers have been given his Spirit. And it’s the Spirit who can transform me to really love other believers – even those who are different to me. A life lived in remembrance of the cross means seeing people as Jesus does and living in unity with those he has saved.
The word of the day was remembrance. Remembering just how important and beautiful the cross is, and letting that flow out into the way I live.
How can we live our lives in remembrance?