Well, you’re probably convinced I’ve lost my mind if I think that Easter is coming! Any fool knows that we celebrated the resurrection of Christ yesterday, right ??
Well, though I may be a fool, I’m not confused about the calendar. Yesterday at dawn I was standing on a beach in North Carolina celebrating Christ’s victory over death with with a bunch of other folk who were willing to get up very early and worship Him who has overcome. Let me begin to unpack the point I’m trying to make by asking a question.
What is the most common command God gives us in Scripture?
You may think it is to love, either God or our neighbor. You might suppose it is to forgive. Or to make disciples. Or even to have faith in God. But as wonderful as all of those things are, none of them are God’s most common command to us.
The thing that God tells His people to do most often is TO REMEMBER.
From a biblical perspective, memory is not sitting and thinking on the past, as though it had been forgotten. It is not either calling to mind (or even being reminded about) some important event.
In Genesis 8, it is written that God remembered Noah. Does this mean that after God instructed Noah to build the Ark, shut him inside and flooded the world with the deluge that He then returned to heaven to watch Touched By An Angel and forgot about him? Perhaps sometime later Michael the Archangel politely tapped God on the shoulder and said ‘Almighty One, Blessed be He, there appears to be a man down here with a large boat and he thinks he knows you!’ To which God responds; ‘I forgot about Noah! It’s been 150 days! Wow, it must stink something fierce with all those animals! Ok, I need wind, let’s pull the plug on the water, I need a rainbow, a few birds and an olive branch .. let’s go people!’
Of course not! So, then, what is God’s idea behind His command to remember?
Biblical remembrances are intended to be current, active and present. They are PARTICIPATING AGAIN in the event, so that it impacts us AGAIN with its power, fills us AGAIN with the awe of the moment.
BIBLICALLY, MEMORY IS A CALL TO ACTION.
God remembers Noah and all the living creatures … and the waters subside.
God also remembers Rachel, Jacob’s wife who has been without child for years … and her womb opens.
God hears the groaning of the Israelites in Egypt and He remembers His covenant with Abraham and brings about their redemption.
When God remembers, He acts.
To remember is to be spurred into action. In the Hebrew mind, remembering is closely associated with doing. At the table of the Last Supper, when Jesus says, ‘Do this to Remember Me!’ what He is doing is calling His disciples to take some specific action. From a Hebraic perspective, you remember by doing.
God asks us to remember what He has done, to remember His teaching, guidance and instruction and His wondrous acts of redemption. Christ gathers His disciples around a Passover table and lays out again His plan to involve them in the salvation of the world.
As we remember His generosity, His mercy, grace and love, this should spur us into action.
We remember what he has done by being better disciples of Jesus. By being generous, merciful, gracious and loving…
IN OTHER WORDS, WE REMEMBER BY DOING!
When we DONT REMEMBER, it is easy to grow complacent. To fall into a rut. Or we can get overly focused upon minor details, and totally ignore the most important things as we live out our faith.
Many years ago I went grocery shopping to get a few items for my wife. I was convinced I had all the details covered. I had my wallet, had the list, had instructions from my wife, had the coupons; I was on top of everything. When I came out to the car after shopping, I was shocked to realize I had left my infant daughter in the back seat on a hot July day.
Thankfully I had only been in the store for a few moments. Praise God! She was fine, and slept through the experience.
But if something horrible had happened, telling telling my wife that I had remembered fresh broccoli wouldn’t help. Remembering in the Biblical sense causes us to focus on doing WHAT IS TRULY IMPORTANT.
Do you know why God tells us to remember so often?? BECAUSE WE FORGET SO EASILY !
And WHEN WE FORGET – we DON’T ACT the way we are called to act. We don’t focus on that which is truly important.
WE FORGET THE CROSS, and so we forget how much God loves us – and we don’t live a life characterized by love.
WE FORGET THE RESURRECTION and so we let the enemy continue to brow beat us over our sin – and we don’t live a life characterized by victory.
WE FORGET PENTECOST, and so we do not walk in the power CHRIST intends for us to have – and we don’t live a life characterized by the gifts of God operating in our lives.
WE FORGET THE GREAT COMMANDMENT, so we are powerless to fulfill the GREAT COMMISSION because we don’t act.
BUT GOD SAYS REMEMBER !!
He gives His Commandments — and begins by including a call to remember the deliverance from Egypt.
He gives His Feasts — and calls us to remember his promises.
He gives His Son — and calls us to remember His sacrifice.
He gives His Spirit — and calls us to remember the mission we are empowered to do.
We need to remember because God remembers. And when we remember we can remind Him of His promises, His benefits, His protection, His word.
We need to remember because, as we do, God will lead us in acting on His behalf as His hands and feet, His voice.
Yesterday we who know Christ celebrated His resurrection. Christ’s victory over the grave empowers us! It is we who are sent to be His ambassadors. We carry the message of Easter, the power of Easter, the hope of Easter.
WE are Easter. We are sent to a world who needs to know the message of Easter. So He tells us to REMEMBER. As we do, we are called to ACT.
WE are Easter, and Easter is coming! It is coming to your neighbors. It is coming to your friends. It is coming to the lady beside you in the grocery store and the man in the car accident in front of you. It is coming to any of hundreds of situations in places all over the world because He is in You, and He has called you to REMEMBER Him and TAKE ACTION.
WE ARE EASTER to the world who needs to see Jesus.
WE ARE EASTER, and He has sent us.
WE ARE EASTER, and as we obey Him and live out His love in our lives, our actions will touch those around us.
That is HOW we “remember.”
WE ARE EASTER. And Easter is coming to SOMEONE because of you.