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The World’s Most Impressive Memorial

by Bob Russell

Bob Russell1Gleaned from www.bobrussell.org

What do you think is the most impressive memorial in Washington D.C.?  Our forefathers knew people quickly forget so they erected numerous monuments and statues to remind us of the price that was paid for our freedom.  Which is the most impressive to you?  The towering Washington Monument?  The stately Jefferson or Lincoln Memorials?

There are numerous shrines in Washington to remind us of significant events: the World War II Memorial, Korean War Memorial, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  To me the most impressive, the most effective, is the Vietnam Memorial.  It’s not impressive in size or architecture; it’s just a wall.  But written on the wall are the names of 58,195 individuals who sacrificed their lives on behalf of their country.

The Vietnam wall is the most impressive because you don’t just see it…you can walk right up to it and touch it.  I’ve observed people search and search until they find a name of a relative, neighbor or classmate.  They touch it lightly with their fingers and then brush away a tear.  They may take a piece of paper and a pencil and trace that name to take home.  They walk away, wiping their nose, shaking their head.  They remember. That’s the intent of a memorialto assure that we remember and appreciate the past.  The most impressive memorial is one that accomplishes that purpose.

I would suggest to you that the most profound and effective memorial of any kind is The Lord ’s Supper.  The Lord Jesus knew we are inclined to forget.  So on the night before He sacrificed His life, Jesus took a loaf of bread and cup of juice and said to His followers, “This is my body.  This is my blood.  Do this in remembrance of me”.  Communion was established so we would never forget what He did for us.  When we partake of the Lord’s Supper we participate in a sacred observance that reveals the wisdom and genius of God.

It’s interactive.  Communion involves all 5 of the senses. We see it, touch it, smell it, taste it, even hear it as the wafer is crushed in our mouth.  Paul calls the Lord ’s Supper, “a participation” in the body and blood of Christ (1 Cor. 10:16).

It’s symbolic.  The unleavened bread symbolizes that Jesus’ life had no sin.  The grape juice the result of crushing the grapes reminds us that Jesus was crushed for us.  The juice is blood-colored, reminding us Jesus blood was poured out to cleanse us of our sins.

It’s portable.  You don’t have to travel to Jerusalem or Washington D.C. or Mecca to participate.  It’s easily made available to you wherever your local church assembles.

It’s permanent.  Jesus told His followers, “I will not drink of this cup again until I drink of it new in my Father’s Kingdom.”  The communion memorial has lasted for over 2000 years, and will continue to be practiced in eternity.

It’s profound.  There is something deeply spiritual that occurs when we participate in the Lord ’s Supper with the right spirit.  Jesus said “For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them” (John 6:55-56).

I can’t fully explain it because I don’t fully understand it.  But I know that something mysterious, something very significant happens, when we participate in this memorial. One more thing; when you eat this bread and drink this cup you draw near to the cross.  And if you look closely, you will see your name written on that cross.  Not that you died there, but to remind you that Jesus died there in your place.

The above was a communion meditation I gave at New Day Christian Church, Port Charlotte, Florida, January 29,2017


                           Bob Russell is retired Senior Minister of Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, KY.

One Response to “The World’s Most Impressive Memorial”

  1. John Fulda says:

    This is beautiful and right on target. I want to add something.

    In the spring of ’50 I climbed the stairs to the top of Washington’s monument. It was like walking through a pig’s stye. Debris was everywhere: bottles, cups, paper, and other trash. The most offensive thing was the smell from the rotting discarded sandwiches, a disgrace to the man it honored.

    This memorial to Jesus will never be like that. Always fresh and living for us who observe the Lord’s supper.

    Thanks Bro. Russel

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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33