A Room Called Remember
A ROOM CALLED REMEMBER
Sermon By Terry Siverd
Cortland Church of Christ / May 26, 2019
Our 43rd Annual Camp 2:52 Summer Youth Retreat is now just four weeks away.
1Chronicles 16 tells of a time when King David orchestrated the transference the ark of the covenant which had
basically been “marooned” at the house of Abinadab for some 20 years during the reign of King Saul (1Sam.7:1-2).
Later David would be instructed by God that it will be his son, Solomon, who would build the temple for the ark.
But for the time being, it was transported (not without difficulties) to a tent that was prepared by David (1Chron.16:1).
In a ceremony filled with pathos we read of David's deeds and words of instruction in 1Chron.16:7-12 - -
Then on that day David first assigned Asaph and his relatives to give thanks to the Lord.
Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples.
Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders. Glory in His holy name; Let the heart
of those who seek the Lord be glad. Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually.
REMEMBER His wonderful deeds which He has done, His marvels and His judgments...
Tomorrow our nation will celebrate Memorial Day.
The cemeteries are bedazzled with flags upon flags, honoring those who have died in service to our country.
This morning I want us to think a bit more about the greatest memorial day ever.
Theoretically we engage in this memorial every Sunday - - a day recognized by many as “The Lord's Day”.
I say theoretically because we do not always give this sacred memorial our highest attention.
We acknowledge that our gathering around The Table Of The Lord every first day is the most important
session that ought to start every week of our lives, but our goal to concentrate on and celebrate this glorious
event is often interrupted by the stresses and strains of life. We often come to The Table distracted.
We know we should be fully engaged, but sometimes we're only half here, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Frederick Buechner (pronounced “Beek/ner”) seldom writes words that are not truly thought-provoking.
This aged author (soon to be 93) is an accomplished novelist, poet, autobiographer, essayist, preacher & theologian.
One of Buechner's book's (a collection of Bible-related essays) is titled, A Room Called Remember.
Buechner writes about dreams, noting that some are bad; some are sad; and some are glad.
Regarding the latter, he says, “...if you're like me, there are some dreams that take a turn so
absurd that you wake up laughing.” But, he adds to this list of categories of dreams - -
Rarest of all is the dream that wakes you with what I can only call its TRUTH.
“The path of your dream winds now this way, now that - - one scene fades into another,
people come and go the way they do in dreams - - and suddenly, deep out of wherever it is that dreams
come from, something rises up that shakes you to your foundations. The mystery of the dream suddenly
lifts like a fog, and for an instant it is as if you glimpse a truth truer than any you knew that you knew if
only a truth about yourself. It is too much truth for the dream to hold anyway, and the dream breaks.”
Read brief excerpt from pg.2-3 of Buechner's, A Room Called Remember.
What we aspire to do each and every Lord's Day is to remember.
In Luke's account of Jesus' inauguration of The Lord's Supper - - an event sometimes called, “The Last Supper”,
Luke records (Lk.22:19) - - And when He (Jesus) had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it,
and gave it to them saying, 'This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of ME.'
I was us to ponder anew this morning - - “What is it that we are to remember?”
To encourage us to commune in a manner that more fully captures the various tangential truths
inherent within The Lord's Supper, it will help us significantly if we focus on several key facets.
BODY & BLOOD
This first couplet of words peering into this memorial we call The Supper a focus which is most often emphasized.
This morning's reading reminds us of this physical aspect and suffering side (the flesh and blood) of the crucifixion.
This is My body which is given for you (Lk.22:19).
This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood (Lk.22:20).
As Isaiah notes, “He was pierced...He was bruised/crushed...He was chastened.
This room we call remember that we enter every Lord's Day takes us back in our minds to reflect on
the scourging … the crown of thorns … the nails in His hands and feet … the spear that pierced His side …
Included in this is the deep sorrow that gripped our Lord's heart from that panoramic view exalted on the tree:
Jesus saw His dear mother and His devoted disciples at the foot of the cross.
Jesus saw His enemies - - the soldiers who executed Him and the mob that demanded that He be crucified.
Jesus saw & heard the thieves hanging beside Him -- the derision of one and the pitiful plea of the other (Lk.23:39-43)
He heard that bold, daring and beautiful confession of the centurion declaring Him to be the Son of God (Mk.15:39).
How His heart, body and and soul must have ached acutely for all of humanity.
The prophet Isaiah foresaw this gruesome yet marvelous dimension of the cross hundreds of years earlier
when he wrote (Isa.53:4-5) - - Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried...
He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities.
The chastening of our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed...
This word “atonement” speaks of a sacrifice or an offering that brings PEACE with God so as “to make as one”.
Here again, Isaiah's words are profound, but they are also shocking and almost unfathomable.
The Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering / Isa.53:10.
Our room of remembrance will not the rich reservoir it ought to be if we do not dwell on this aspect of the cross.
What Jesus did on the cross, He did for US!
Indeed, the cross of Christ was a historical event that happened long, long ago on a hill far away.
But for those of us who call ourselves disciples the cross is a personal reality that is near and dear to us everyday.
There are two sub-points to understanding the atonement that must not be missed.
If we miss them we will never fully grasp the agony of the cross.
The ultimate pain and shame of the cross was not what happened to Jesus' body.
It wasn't just that He was wounded for our transgressions and that He suffered and bled and died.
The real horror of the cross is captured by the ipsissima verba (the very words) of Jesus
recorded rather dramatically in Matthew's gospel account (Mt.27:45-46) - -
Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying,
'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?.
To rightly comprehend this development, we are driven to ask, “Why would The loving Father forsake His Son?”.
This question leads us to a second sub-point about the atonement that is also critical to understanding the cross.
Once more we read sacred words from Isaiah the prophet (Isa.53:6, 8b & 12b) - - The Lord caused the sin of us all
to fall on HIM...He was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgression of my people for whom the stroke
was due...He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the sinners; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many....
Just in case we are having a difficult time wrapping our brains and hearts around this deep truth,
I want us to listen carefully to the words of the New Testament apostles Peter, John and Paul.
1Jn.4:10 / In this is love, not that we loved God,
but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation/offering/sacrifice for our sins.
1Pet.2:24 / He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross,
that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.
We have two passages from Paul, which are so clear that we dare not blur them or water them down.
Gal.3:13 / Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us...
2Cor.5:21 / He (God) made Him (Christ) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf,
that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
In the most unexpected turn of events ever recorded, the Roman governor Pilate declares Jesus to be innocent,
saying, I find NO GUILT in this man (Lk.23:4), yet, on our behalf, in the quickly-unfolding events that followed
on that day 2,000 years ago The Almighty God and governor of the entire universe declares Jesus to be GUILTY.
It was such an astonishing act of mercy and grace that that most horrible Friday is now known as good Friday.
Sometime in the future (perhaps sooner than later) my preaching days with you will come to an end.
It would be my honor if you could truthfully say about me, that I helped us all see the cross more clearly.
It has troubled me all of my preaching career that these two elements of the cross - -
this God-forsakeness and this sin-bearing aspect have not been accentuated nearly enough.
When we enter this room of remembrance every Lord's Day we must determine to let the voice of Scripture
direct our thoughts. We must not gather round the table and overlook these vital aspects of the cross.
Even if the presider doesn't call attention to them, we must remember them.
Tuck this FamilyMatters sermon notes page in your Bible and bring it out every Sunday as we remember together.
Finally, there is one last word that is also very important - - it's the concept of togetherness.
In 1Cor.10:16, Paul states rather emphatically: Is not the cup of blessing which we bless
a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?
Sometimes we refer to The Lord's Supper as The Communion.
This communion is not just vertical (us with God) it is horizontal (us with us).
In 1Cor.11: 27-29, Paul writes: Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord
in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But let a man
examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats
and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly.
We dare not commune in The Supper and not think of the preciousness of The Church.
In our supping together we must continually cultivate a deep and abiding love for the body of Christ.
To not do so will be to make a mockery of The Lord's Supper. Christ so loved us that He died for the body, the church.
The “unworthy manner” which Paul addresses is tantamount to eating and drinking with dissensions and strife;
it's communing with ill-will and bad-feelings for our brethren. Such attitudes make a sham of The Supper.
This room called remember is a weekly call to loving participation, redounding to peace & unity in the body of Christ.