1 Cor 11:24, Joshua 4, Philippians 4:8

Tracy Williamson talks about the importance of remembering the ways in which God blesses our lives.

Tracy Williamson
Tracy Williamson

'Do this in remembrance of me.' 1 Cor 11:24

Recently I met with some old friends and soon the conversation turned to the past. 'Do you remember. . .?' followed by gales of laughter and not a few tears. Remembering - a way of sharing our stories and owning our emotions. Remembering - for years I buried the memories of my abusive childhood. Remembering can be painful and we avoid it, fearing to face up to past traumas. But in running away we also run from recognising the people who tried to help us, the deep compassion of God and the possibility of real healing. Remembering - the pathway to inner peace; the doorway to joy, and personal vision and a deeper experience of God's love.

This month we celebrated Remembrance Sunday, a day for honouring those who have gone to war leaving their families, their hopes and dreams, often suffering injury or death as they've sought to protect our nation.
Remembering our heroes and honouring them by wearing our poppies and observing the national silence; celebrating with timely worship, readings and sermons .

Honouring those who through their sacrifices have enabled us to live lives of freedom and peace.

As Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples, He said,'do this in remembrance of me.' He wanted them to remember the sacrifice of His body, and the pouring out of His blood, that all might be forgiven. Such remembering is a deliberate dwelling upon Jesus' love. How does His sacrifice affect me? How can my love and thankfulness overflow into the way I make choices and relate to the people around me?

We may say, how can I spend so much time reflecting? Life is pressured enough as it is! But this is the beauty of what Jesus set in place: bread and wine becoming meaningful symbols to help us remember. Similarly the poppy becomes the emblem by which we honour those who have given their lives for us. Or the minute silences to remember someone who has died in tragic circumstances. For example, when Emiliano Sala died in January 2019, football clubs across the nation observed a minute's silence before play to mourn and honour him.

Going deeper
Our minds will either skate along the shallows of life: the latest TV programmes, the fads trending on social media . . . or through creating our own unique ways of remembering we will grow in our realisation of God's work in our lives.

There are many Biblical examples of remembering: e.g when the Lord opened up the river Jordan as a miraculous sign for the Israelites to cross on dry land. He told them to pick up 12 stones from the river bed and build them into an altar of remembrance (Joshua 4). So those stones became mnemonics for them to rejoice in His incredible power and ever present help.

It's not just the huge things that God wants us to remember but the daily ways He blesses and provides for us. Last week I was leading a conference but I felt shattered as my Hearing Dog Goldie was very poorly with an epileptic fit. I was upset and struggling to feel positive about the lovely things God was doing. But God led me to look back over the week asking Him to show me the ways He had been blessing me.

Suddenly all sorts of lovely realisations flooded into my heart: the kindness of the guests; their joy in taking Goldie for walks, the loving staff at the centre, the beauty of the autumn colours, the laughter and fellowship together. All my negativity lifted as I understood afresh how deeply He cares for me and is always working on my behalf.

So it's a great idea to make a time in which we thankfully look back over our day to be reminded of all the ways He has been with us: an encouraging email, a compliment, sunshine, a tasty meal with friends, a difficult job accomplished with His help. There are so many ways He blesses us each day but they can easily be missed. Choosing to honour Him for those things makes our hearts supple and our worship so much deeper.

As Paul taught us in Philippians 4:8, 'whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right; whatever is pure; whatever is lovely; whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things.' Paul wants us to dwell upon all that is good, lovely and excellent. Let's choose to do that. We might be amazed how such simple acts of remembering and reflecting can turn around our understanding about ourselves, life and God.

Lord Jesus, thank you for your amazing gift of love and the way that love is shown in so many ways including the sacrificial acts of those who have given their lives for our nation. Please help us to remember in an ongoing way all the ways you daily bless us. Amen.  CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.