We have had quite a lot of deaths in our community recently; each person loved, cherished and remembered. Yet these numbers are small when we think of the many who have died in war. I can imagine relatives here, mostly wives and mothers, scouring the newspaper lists for news of their husbands and sons; or living in fear of the arrival of a certain telegram.
We remember those who have died. Their lives, both individually and corporately, have shaped who we are. So remembering is not just looking back, but bringing into the present all that has brought us to this point. The two central events of both Jewish and Christian practice centre on remembering: the Jewish remembering deliverance from Egypt in the Passover, and the Christian remembering Jesus’ own remembering of this, overlaid with his own death and resurrection as a new expression of it.
In the Jewish Passover, the youngest child asks, ‘Why is this night special?’ not ‘Why was this night special?’ In a similar way, when we share the bread and wine we recall Jesus’ words, ‘This is my body ... this is my blood’. Our remembering brings the past into the present and shapes the reality we inhabit.
Hear these words of Jesus (John 10.28): no one will snatch them out of my hand. No one.