Contend Earnestly: Remembrance

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Winston Churchill honored the memory of the Royal Air Force pilots who sacrificed their lives to guard England during the air war with Germany in World War II. He declared, "Never in the history of mankind have so many owed so much to so few." A similar tribute appears on a memorial plaque in Belgium at the site of the Battle of the Bulge, one of the bloodiest conflicts of World War II. The inscription, in honor of the 101st Airborne Division, reads, "Seldom has so much American blood been shed in the course of a single action. Oh, Lord, help us to remember." These are fitting tributes to the courageous men who sacrificed so much in battle. We want to remember those who have sacrificed their lives in order to defend us from our enemies and to protect us from harm. We should remember. We don't want to forget.There is another who sacrificed His life for us. We respect the soldier who died on our behalf, but this Man's sacrifice on our behalf was infinitely greater, and the stakes involved were infinitely higher. This Man is Jesus of Nazareth. His suffering upon the cross was far beyond anything we can imagine and infinitely above what any other human has ever experienced. I am referring not merely to His physical suffering, as great as that was, but to the spiritual dimension of His agony, which is far beyond what we can comprehend. He sacrificed His life in this unique act of atonement to deliver us from Satan, sin and death, to save us for the eternal judgment our sins deserve, to make us right with God. Never in the history of humanity have so many owed so much to one Man. We should remember. We don't want to forget. So we regularly, frequently partake of the Lord's Supper. Jesus said, "Do this in remembrance of Me."

I was thinking about instituting a new element to our family worship time at the dinner table. We always start by praying and usually havea devotion time. I was thinking about actually starting the meal by breaking bread in remembrance of our Lord. As the family priest I alone would break the bread and then offer our prayer. Maybe we all tear some bread? or just Susan and I, as we remember, give thanks and offer our continued devotion and pledge to the Lord.

Since I have four children who are all eleven or younger none of them currently partake in communion or have been baptized. I was thinking that this would act as a bridge to those ordinances as well as give honor and remembrance. But I am very cautious about coming too close to an actual communion act which is only for believers. By keeping the drinking element out do I violate the intent or give myself a loophole?



Seth McBee said...

Good thoughts. I have thought about htis in the past as well. To actually have communion between Stacy and I, but I have never thought of doing this with the kids, of course, mine wouldn't understand at all because they are so young. I think to remember the Saviour is always good, just be careful that the kids know the difference between what you would be doing and actual communion. I would find another way to go being that it is so close to what the Lord's Supper symbolizes. Maybe you and Susan share in the communion and teach your kids what the importance is. The only drawback I could see is that kids, by nature, always want to be included, and therefore could "repent" to be included in the family communion time. I like the idea of remembering and I even like the idea of having the Lord's Supper with believers not only in church but at other times as well. Just read your children, which you have shown you can do, and know when they seem to start incline an ear to Christ just to be included.

Great thoughts!

Justin Evans said...

I know this is an issue that Tony and I have talked about off line quite a bit. It is tough to know when it is appropriate to accept a child's profession of faith. Here are a couple of seemingly unconnected thoughts on the question posed:

I believe that the Lord can use the child's feeling of exclusion from these sacred acts as a symbol for their separation from Him, spiritually. I don't believe this is a bad thing. That is one aspect I admire about the Brethren church (wide brush stroke, I realize). They take very careful measures to make sure that those who participate are truly saved, as best as man can evaluate. This protects not only their responsibility as leaders to oversee the church, but also the potential non-believer from storing up even more wrath for taking the Supper in an unworthy manner. 1 Cor 11 is a sobering passage of how serious the Lord views this institution; that He would discipline His own to death when the Table has been violated. I can only imagine the wrath He feels if someone who is unconverted takes part.

The other thought was that I would fear, personally, the lack of ability to communicate the seriousness of the moment in a home setting with small children. I'm not suggesting it should not be done, or that it cannot be done (if in fact you deem their professions to be genuine).

Lastly, I believe that if someone is deemed worthy to take of the cup, then they are worthy to be baptized. I would even say it stronger that I don't believe they should take of the cup if the are not baptized - as they are living in sin by disobeying the ordinance of baptism.

All that to say, I am not directing all of these comments at your specific family, Tony. Just some thoughts as we wrestle with this issue.

Seth McBee said...

This has been a great discussion in the past and one that I have mixed thoughts on. I come from the Southern Baptist train of thought where if you came forward and prayed you were saved for the rest of your life and not only did parents hang on to that prayer for their kids but the children that actually prayed that as well would hang on to that confession as well, no matter how they lived their life.

That is one extreme (which I don't adhere to) the other is making sure so much of your child's fruits that you almost hold them to a higher standard than a pharisee did and they could be in their mid to late teens before you finally say that you believe your child is saved. Two extremes, so what is the answer? I have no idea! But, if my child at the age of 6 or 7 believes in Christ I definitely will not be the one to turn them away. Would I continue to train them and admonish and exhort where necessary? Of course. But I have a hard time turning them away from partaking of baptizm and the Lord's Supper if I feel they know what they are confessing. Will they still mess up, will they still sin, will all their attitudes change immediately? Do any new Christians quit sinning cold turkey? No, but the call for the parent and for a spiritual man is to aid that new convert into understanding daily what it means to love God and hate sin. This is something that I have been giving a lot of thought to because of my son turning 4 this next year, not that I think he understands but as time goes on I always ask myself how I will interact with him when he does come to me and say, "Daddy, I want to go to heaven where Christ is" At that point I drop everything and aid him in understanding the depths of that question.

And yes, I believe in Lordship salvation. That means something different to a 6 year old and a 60 year old though but I believe both can start to show fruit immediately.

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