“As often as you shall do this, do it in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)
We are a forgetful people. That is why the last thing Jesus did before His death was to institute communion. He invited us to practice it regularly so that as often as we would do it, we would remember Him and what He has done for us. To truly do something in remembrance means more than a mental ascent, it can move a person into the experiential dimension of the thing remembered. And here is the secret Jesus knew. Such remembrance inspires thanksgiving and thanksgiving to God has transforming power.
Have you ever wondered why some Christian traditions refer to communion as the Eucharist? It is because the word Eucharist comes from the Greek by way of Latin and means “thanksgiving.”
Thanksgiving gives us a taste of heaven on earth. It joins us in Spirit with the angelic hosts who are ceaselessly worshiping and thanking Him who sits upon the throne.
Giving thanks to God releases spiritual power. It enables us to transcend the bounds of our earthly troubles and seeming limitations. That is why Jeremiah writes in the midst of his lament at the downfall of Jerusalem – “Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this…” (Lamentations 3:21) Please note: remembering inspires hope! Do you know what Jeremiah was remembering? It is an oft quoted scripture and many songs of praise have been inspired by it. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness.” (vs. 22-23)
Remembering and thanksgiving and the release of God’s power are like a three-fold cord. It is a lifeline from heaven. God provides it to lift us above our circumstances, offer us hope and inspire faith.
The first time I saw this truth in action was years ago when our firstborn child was just five years old. He had come down with the flu and was feeling very sick. We had tucked him into bed but it wasn’t long before our tearful little guy had joined us in the living room and crawled up into Susan’s lap.
From the time he was just a toddler we always made it a practice to pray with him about everything. As Susan was rocking him we began to reminisce about the times we had prayed in the past and God had answered those prayers. With each story I could see his pained expressions progressively begin to dissipate. Unwittingly, we were weaving our remembrances of the Lord’s faithfulness with thanksgivings, and it was releasing faith. And then suddenly, his face brightened and he exclaimed to our utter amazement “I’m healed!” And that was it. He hopped down from Susan’s lap and ran off to bed.
The celebration of Thanksgiving each year is a pointed reminder. It prods us to remember God’s faithfulness in our lives and in our nation. That in turn should produce a thankful heart and result in praise to God for all He has done for us. Where ever God is glorified through remembrance and thanksgiving, His transformational power is sure to be revealed.