Do This in Remembrance of Me
- The Rev. Bob Dannals
- Apr 05, 2017
- Blog Feed
Within just a few years we've seen the Newtown shootings, the bombing at the Boston Marathon, the rescue of the kidnapped women in Cleveland, the killing of several African Americans by police officers, the murders at the military base outside Waco, the slaughter of the innocents at the church in Charleston, and several acts of terrorism in France, London, Syria and Nigeria. But which details of these events will we remember in a year? In five years? Will we remember the names of the perpetrators or the victims, the places where they happened, or the month and the year?
It won't surprise you to learn that the very recent news and the events of long-ago are the ones remembered best. The Japanese psychologist Terumasa Kogure found a sharp drop in recollection at four years and eight years after an event, but very often we'll remember the details of far older stories, especially if there is an attending ritual attached.
The drama of the Passion of Christ, from the borrowed donkey to the borrowed tomb, is marked by two aspects of remembrance: surprise and a consistent re-telling. So surprising is the cross that it continues to be scandalous. Yet all other scripts of redemption wear thin before the end. The memorable truth is that there is no reception without renunciation.
The richness of Palm Sunday is like the richness of Holy Week itself. Jesus in triumph receives the hope-filled adulation of the crowd on his entry into Jerusalem. Soon he is betrayed by a kiss. He stands with dignity as frightened and cynical accusers question him. Then he is struck and mocked. His followers desert him.
On Maundy Thursday our hearts are touched by Jesus' actions of humble love for others. We hear with thanks that he ordains the holy meal for our continuous communion with him, but we are chilled at the moment of betrayal at the supper table itself.
Even in the severe mood of Good Friday with St. John's detailed and poetic passion, the note of triumph is not far away. The ugliness of the rude cross manages a stark dignity.
Many voices testify of this narrative. Many kinds of songs, pictures, stories and metaphors address many kinds of people. But only one voice says: "Do this in remembrance of me."
The word is "anamnesis." It's the opposite of "amnesia." "Do this in remembrance of me." We will, all during Holy Week. Join us, to remember and respond.
+ + + +