Tomorrow is Memorial Day. For most Americans it’s just another day off — a day to cook out, spend time with loved ones, maybe hit the big sale at the appliance store or the car dealership. But the holiday has a much greater significance. It dates back to just after the Civil War, when communities across the nation began setting aside a day to honor fallen Union and Confederate soldiers. After the first World War the day became a remembrance of those lost in all of America’s wars. Memorial Day is for honoring the sacrifice of those who fought and died to defend and preserve our nation.
For Christians, every Sunday is “memorial day.” On this day we, like the disciples of old, gather to remember and honor the sacrifice of Jesus, who died to secure our salvation (see Acts 20:7). Our observance is simple: a memorial feast of unleavened bread and fruit of the vine, in keeping with Jesus’ instructions.
“While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’ And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins’” (Matthew 26:26-28).
“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).
Just as many Americans forget the significance of Memorial Day, disciples can lose sight of the meaning of the Lord’s Supper. That happened in the Corinthian church: the Supper had become nothing but a social meal pursued with selfish appetites. As a result, many of those brethren were (spiritually) “weak and sick” and some were “asleep” (1 Corinthians 11:30). The same danger faces us if we let this weekly observance become little more than a distraction or a mindless ritual. The remedy is self-examination and careful focus (verses 28-29). Never forget the meaning of Christ’s memorial!