For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (1 Corinthians 11:23–25—NKJV)

Memory is a wonderful faculty. With memory we learn. With memory we treasure. With memory we grow deep. If God had not placed in man the ability to remember, we would have no ability to have a relationship with Him or with each other.

The faculty of memory seems to be energized by different factors. When a given memory is accompanied by strong emotions (love, joy, fear) the memory seems to be able to be quickly called to mind. Memory also finds a great ally when a given event is recognized as retaining great significance (graduation, marriage, birth of a child) for the individual and for his future. Memory is aided dramatically with practice and repetition (skills, academic excellence, exercise, original thinking).

Upon review of the energizers of memory, please observe that the first example is one that takes very little effort because the emotions do the heavy lifting in impressing the memory upon the head and heart. The second example takes a little investment of forethought in that one must see the quality of a thing and therefore value it with the respect that it deserves. The final energizer requires the most work in that everything gained comes from sheer effort and full investment of the person in the outcome.

Our country has a “Memorial Day” in which it is incumbent upon the citizens of this great land to remember that the freedoms that we enjoy are unusual among the nations of this earth and the generations of humankind. Freedom is never free. Thank God for fellow citizens who have valued our freedoms more than self, put on their uniforms, and laid down their lives in the defense of freedom in order to keep America free!

The meaning of Memorial Day must be impressed upon our memories by way of emotion, by recognition, and by practice in just the same way that our memory of the superior work of Christ is impressed upon our memory. Spiritual freedom is not free either. Christ died so that we might live, the Just for the unjust. Galatians 5:1 powerfully reminds us of His purpose, “For freedom Christ has made us free; stand fast therefore and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” What momentous words! It reminds us of Romans 6:20–23, “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The memorial that should be enshrined in the believer’s heart is energized by the emotion that accompanied the awakening to the horror of judgment that weighed heavily upon the guilty sinner’s soul, and the relief of joy that flooded the ransomed heart when the miracle of regeneration was wrought by the Holy Spirit. As Hebrews 10:31–32 states, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings.”

The memorial is also energized with recognition of the significance of the sacrifice of our Savior. Our text quoted from 1 Corinthians is from the heart of Paul’s recounting of the manner of the Lord’s Table observed by local churches at Communion. The reason for “tarrying one for another” is so that there may be a proper alignment in the heart with the work, will, and worship of Jesus Christ. Communion is celebrated on a regular basis for the purpose of the memorial remembering His death until He comes for us!

The memorial is also energized by practice and meditation. 2 Timothy 2:8 enjoins, “Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my Gospel.” The particular word for remember is literally “keep in mind” the One who rose, the Source, the Supplier (a similar use is found in Revelation 2:5, 3:3). How successful are you about valuing the work of your Savior to set you free? Trust and obey.