Today is Remembrance Sunday and at 11:00 am this morning, many of us in the UK will pause, stand still and be silent. Somebody asked me only this week, ‘why do we have this two-minute silence on this special day every year?”
As far as I understand the answer to that question, I believe that the two-minute silence is a time for personal and national reflection and for us to show respect and gratitude to the armed forces past and present, who have lost their lives fighting for their country. This is a tradition that first began in 1919, one year after the end of the First World War and that continues to this day. One that I greatly appreciate and respect.
Remembering is also a spiritual discipline that I think is crucial in a fast changing, evolving and complex world, where there are so many competing voices screaming and shouting for our attention. We can easily lose our bearings in such a world and it is crucial that we remember what Jesus has done, both historically, in biblical times, as well as for us today, in the life of the church and in our own personal lives.
I don’t know how you view remembering but I am sure that remembering isn’t something that is passive! I believe that it is an action that brings the power of Jesus into our lives. As we remember what He has done, it enables us to stop focusing on impossibility and instead focus on the God who does the impossible.
I love the way that Bill Johnson summarises remembrance in his book Release the Power of Jesus:
‘Remembering is something that someone can learn to do through choice, and that in turn helps to develop spiritual sensitivities. It’s as though we can choose to subject ourselves to the influence of the miraculous through biblical meditation and then brace ourselves for the supernatural result!’
As we read the scriptures, we see that Remembrance runs throughout the Bible.
There are multiple accounts of ‘Memorial Stones’ which pointed to God; God sent a rainbow after the flood to remember His covenant that ‘never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life’ (Genesis 9:15); the covenant meal was a tradition where parties could remember their covenants with one another; the breaking of bread and the drinking of wine was inaugurated so that we, as followers of Jesus, would never forget the self-sacrifice of God on the cross, in the person of His son Jesus Christ!
As we focus on remembering this weekend let us not forget that over and over again, we see God creating ways for us to remember His love and works. He wants each one of us to be followers who live in remembrance.