Thursday, May 8, 2008

In Remembrance

Last Sunday I was privileged, as an elder of our church, to help serve communion. It was an emotional experience for many reasons, not the least of which was because I had not been able to participate in the Lord’s Table since my rapid decline three months earlier. By most reasonable predictions, I would most likely be receiving the elements on my death bed by now, if I had not already passed all need for bread or drink. And here I was, standing before the congregation who has so faithfully prayed for me, able to give thanks and to sing with them “By His stripes we are healed!”

I once heard a definition of the Eucharist (Holy Communion, Lord’s Table) that I love: it is a Greek term that means literally “good gift” or, more fully, “hilarious thanksgiving”. For me this last Sunday was indeed a day for hilarious thanksgiving. And I have the tear stains of many friends on the shoulders of my sport coat to prove it!

It is a tradition during the course of administering the elements to quote Jesus’ words at the Last Supper when He said, “Take, eat. This is my body which is broken for you. This do in remembrance of Me.” I have often wondered what He meant by those words. Did He really think we might forget Him or the sacrifice He endured?

Then I studied the meaning of “remembrance” in the original language. In this context it means much more than simply not forgetting. Over and over in Scripture we are told that God “remembers” His covenant (Gen 9:15, Ex 2:24, Ps 98:3, 106:45). Clearly an omniscient God does not require the jogging of His mind to recall His previous commitment. Rather, these passages demonstrate how He takes heed to what He has already promised and is moved to action on behalf of His people.

We read that He remembered Noah to rescue him from the flood (Gen 8:1); He remembered Abraham when He spared Lot from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:29); He remembered Rachel to grant her a child (Gen 30:22); He “takes thought” of man (Ps 8:4) – i.e., He is keenly aware with a comprehensive understanding (“mindful” Ps 103:14). Even the plea of the thief on the cross “Remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42) is not an entreaty to avoid divine amnesia, but an appeal to God’s mercy (His character), and His covenant of grace.

So what does it mean for me to “remember” Him? I am to acknowledge His covenant, to honor His name, to celebrate (1Chron 16:4), to boast (Ps 20:7), to contemplate (Ps 63:6, 143:5), and to announce to others with audible praise (Ps 71:16) what He has accomplished through His victory over sin and death. And to add a crescendo to my praise, I am reminded that, because of what He has done, God does NOT remember my sins! (Is 43:25, Jer 31:34) I am to be moved to action, to love as I have been loved.

At a time when I might have been planning my own memorial service, I will rejoice in remembering Him and revel in His goodness!


  1. Dan

    After my sunday school class broke earlier than usual I heard your voice over the load speaker in the church hall ways. That was a cool deal!

    Please pray for our buddy Howard; that he will be able to attend Jonathan's graduation this Saturday.


  2. That is an AWESOME report. Hallelujah!

    Kristen Stapp

  3. Dan,

    I can attest to what happens when God's people pray faithfully. When my own son, David, was left paralyzed below the right knee following a football injury in Sept. 2005, many people at Tab Church and Norfolk Christian prayed faithfully for him every day. As was your situation, the initial prognosis was not good at all. We were told that David would require the use of a brace the rest of his life just to be able to walk. We were told in no uncertain terms that he would "never" play football or ice hockey again. Today, because God's people prayed, David has regained 90-95% of the use of his foot. He managed to play varsity basketball in 2006 and a couple of downs of football. But the most amazing miracle occured within the last month when he signed up to play full-contact hockey in a men's summer league. That was $440 I gladly paid for him to play!

    So we rejoice with you and with all the saints in what God is doing in your life and body. Our God never ceases to amaze me.

    Sonny Phipps

  4. Dr. Crabtree,
    My name is Ray Respass, my mother told me about your blog. I was wanting to share with you some of the many testimonies of my ministry. I have prayed with people that have had creative miracles, such as deaf ears opening, diseased leg instantly healed; 17 yr old could not walk with out severe pain or a brace was healed, a lady was diagnosed with an inverted-uterus was totally healed and declared so by the doctor.