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REMEMBER - As we are in the midst of Memorial Day Weekend, this word speaks great volumes.
Tomorrow we will celebrate a holiday with a very solemn instruction to remember those who have paid the ultimate price. It is sad that so many have forgotten the meaning of this holiday and make it about all who have or are currently serving in our armed forces. That is the purpose of Veterans Day in November.
My dad was a veteran. He is buried in Tahoma National Cemetery, and on Friday mom and I went to put flowers on his grave. As we drove through the cemetery grounds I noticed a new flag I hadn’t seen before. Each head stone and grave marker was of course marked with the American flag, but there were also several marked with an additional red flag with the letters K.I.A. on them. KIA stands for Killed In Action. Those in particular on the ones we are to remember on this holiday.
The Bible is filled with admonishments to “Remember” or “Do not forget”. I want to explore that idea.
First of all there is a significant difference between the Biblical and the modern use of this word.
The modern notion of ‘remembering’, psychologically viewed as the act of an individual mind is quit alien to the Hebrew conception, which is in the first place communal, and closely related to the idea of the ‘name’.
There is the idea that one makes a name alive by remembering it; the name immediately calls forth the soul it designates; therefore there is a very deep significance to the mention of a name. This is demonstrated by Absalom (David’s son) who has no son to “keep his name in remembrance”. So he sets up a pillar...
2 Samuel 18:18 ESV
Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself the pillar that is in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.” He called the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom’s monument to this day.
In the thought of the ancient world a name does not merely distinguish a person from other persons, but is closelly related to the nature of it’s bearer.
To the Hebrew mind in the Old Testament there was a significance to having one’s name recalled after they’d passed from this earth.
Similarly, hatred of one’s enemies would bring about the desire to have their name “blotted out”.
“The extermination of the name is the strongest expression of annihilation. The Israelites in their anguish beseech their God that their enemies may not succeed in exterminating their name from the earth ; even if he deserts them, and they are struck by misfortune...” Josh 7.9 & 2 Kings 14:27
In the name lies the whole substance of a man’s soul; if it is killed there is only absolute emptiness.
Today you and I sort of recognize this idea. When someone perpetrates a vicious crime, often the new media will refuse to mention the person’s name. They won’t give them the notoriety that allows their name to live on.
The verb remember is most often used in instances with God as the subject.
God remembers persons, to show mercy, protect, deliver.
God is called on to remember Hannah in her childlessness. I Sam 1:11
God is called upon to remember Jeremiah amidst his adversaries. Jeremiah 15:15
God is called upon to remember Israel afflicted in its distress. Lamentations 3:19
I could go on and share how our Bible demonstrates God remembering:
those who make offerings and burnt sacrifices
the sins of the people
those who interecede
...and so many, many more.
In the New Testament the most prominent “remembering” is the record Paul gives us of the Last Supper. Where, Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
“Do this in remembrance of me.”
He’s not merely saying, “Don’t forget.”
It was, according to A.G. Hebert to be a “‘concrete remembering’, a bringing back out of the past into the present — of what? Not of sins, for by his sacrifice they are taken away. But of the Sacrifice itself, or rather of him, crucified, risen from the dead, victorious through death. As he at the Last Supper, taking his bread and wine, identified them with his Body and Blood, as the liturgical emblems of his Sacrifice...” ~ A.G. Hebert
“In His Name...”
This is how we pray, “In His Name.”
Luke 9:48 ESV
and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”
Remember the name.
John 14:13 ESV
Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
Remember the Name.
John 20:31 ESV
but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Remember the Name.
Acts 4:12 ESV
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Remember the Name.
Romans 10:13 ESV
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Remember the Name.
Colossians 3:17 ESV
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Remember the Name.
Matthew 18:20 ESV
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Remember the Name!
Names are powerful things. As we head in to Memorial Day I hope you will remember those who have given their lives in service to our country. As we go forward as a church I pray you will never forget the name that is above all other names and remember all He has done for us.
I want to share with you a video done by a friend of mine, a very talented musician, who wanted to pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to our country.
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