By WALTER ALBRITTON
Iflew home from Africa smiling as I as I thought, “I will never forget Never!” Never was the name of my interpreter in Zambia. A gracious Christian brother, he skillfully translated my Alabama English into the Zambezi language of my friends in that beautiful African nation.
The word “never” found a way onto bumper stickers and billboards following the heinous terrorist attack that shocked America. We declared “We Will Never Forget 9-11.” Memories dim as time passes but that dastardly deed will be long remembered.
God, on the other hand, has always called his people to remember, not the evil deeds of our enemies, but His mercy. The Passover feast was begun to obey God’s command that the Israelites remember how He had delivered them from bondage in Egypt. In the spring, Jewish families brought a lamb “without blemish” to be slaughtered in the Temple by the priests. The lamb’s blood was spilled upon the altar. The meat was returned to each family’s father so he could cook it for his family to enjoy, along with unleavened bread. This festive celebration had been observed for centuries before Jesus was born. With His coming, “in the fullness of time,” the Passover meal was changed forever as a new era began.
By dying on the cross, Jesus became the sacrificial lamb, His life unblemished by sin. I tremble when I read the words John uttered as he looked at Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God!”
Jesus’ death upon that cruel cross fulfilled God’s plan for the salvation of the world. And though the Romans scourged Jesus unmercifully and executed him upon a wooden cross, the greater truth is that Jesus willingly gave his life for our sins.
Before this mighty deed of God occurred, Jesus arranged to eat a Passover meal with His disciples. We call it the Last Supper. What happened at the meal was striking. He took bread, gave thanks, then broke it and gave it to his disciples. It is awesome to consider that because Jesus did that, for centuries Christians have made it a habit before breaking bread at a meal to give thanks to God for His provision. We do it because He did it!
As He gave the bread to his disciples, Jesus said these remarkable words, “This is my body, given for you.” The breaking of the bread symbolized the breaking of His body on the cross. Then, taking the cup of wine, Jesus said, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in remembrance of me.”
That’s why today more than two billion Christians gather in worship to partake of the Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion, the Eucharist — because Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Why? To remember his sacrifice, to remember God’s mercy, to remember that He died for us. Remembering that can inspire us to cry as Charles Wesley did in one of his hymns, “for me, for me, He died!”
When next you partake of the bread and the cup, remember his words: “This is my body, broken for you; this is my blood, shed for you.” Never forget that. Never. Never. It will affect the way you live!