Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; for this reason I lay this command upon you today.
One of the invitations to God’s people throughout scripture and to us today is to remember. This verse in Deuteronomy is nested in the midst of God’s instructions to his people on how to those who are indentured to them when their years of service are over. Our treatment of those in our lives, regardless of our perceived status with them, must be marked by our own remembering that we are indebted to a faithful God by his free and unmerited favor.
- When have you experienced the unmerited favor of God?
- How does your awareness of God’s grace and mercy to you impact the way you think of and treat others?
- What do you need to remember about God’s grace and deliverance in your own life today?
Gracious God, we confess that our memory of your faithfulness to us can be short. Thank you for the many ways you have redeemed us over the years of our lives. Help us to live in the remembrance of your unmerited favor to us that we might treat those around us with that same spirit of grace and honor. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and behold the face of God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
while people say to me continually, “Where is your God?”
As David pours out his soul, longing for God to come and fill him up again, he is on the cusp of remembering God’s faithfulness in the past. We can read ahead in the psalm and know that he did indeed remember, but how often we are at a place where the difficulties around us cause us to forget that God has been faithful before and is present in our current situation.
- Where are you feeling a longing for God?
- What is grief looking like for you in this season?
- How is your current situation shrouding your memory of God’s faithfulness?
Gracious God, in these times of loss and uncertainty from day to day, we find ourselves surrounded by our own grief from within and the doubt of others around us. Where are you? We ask. We long for you because we know you have met us before. So here we are, with hands lifted up to you, asking again for your presence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
These things I remember, as I pour out my soul:
how I went with the throng, and led them in procession to the house of God,
with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.
My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
The psalmist David is in the midst of pouring out his soul, and in his open-hearted searching for the comfort of God, he remembers better days, in community, worshipping together. Sometimes we need the reminders of God’s faithfulness that we experience when we are in community. The faith of others buoys us and can restore our hope.
- How are you experiencing hope in the community of others?
- How are you participating in the encouragement of others through your presence?
- How can you remind someone you know of God’s faithfulness through word and deed today?
Gracious God, thank you for establishing your followers within a context of community. Remind us of those in our lives who have encouraged us and give us grateful hearts for the gift of their presence. And give us eyes to see those in our midst who need the reminder of your faithfulness and be a light of your hope to them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Now while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table. But when the disciples saw it, they were angry and said, “Why this waste? For this ointment could have been sold for a large sum, and the money given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”
In an effort to express her gratitude to Jesus for transforming her life, this woman lavishly anointed Jesus with costly perfume. Imagine the sweet aroma of the room as it dripped over Jesus’ face. By her lavish gift of worship, she exemplifies to us all how open-hearted and open-armed our worship of Jesus can be. As followers of Christ we are marked by our care for the poor as it is rooted in giving Jesus the rightful place in our attention, affection, and adoration.
- What stand out to you as you remember this woman who anointed Jesus?
- Has your generous worship of Jesus ever been questioned?
- How does your generous worship of Jesus help align your care for the people and things that he cares about?
Gracious Lord, thank you for receiving the lavish gift that this woman poured out on you in love and worship. Help us to follow her example and honor you and her memory by pursuing ways to give ourselves in lavish, aromatic worship of you that is reflected in care for those around us. Guard our hearts from questioning or managing the expressions of others who seek to worship you in spirit and in truth. In Your name, Amen.
Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
The art of remembering is etched in the practices of our church. Jesus knew that even though we desire to follow him, it is so easy to wander away and set our affections on other things, things that may be good and noble, but that distract us from whole-hearted commitment to him. He knows us and as a community invites us back to the place of remembering that he loved us first and poured out his body so that we might live and love. This is what we are invited to remember.
- What do you take away from your experience when you participate in communion?
- What do you need to remember about Christ in order to return to your first love?
- What do you hear Him saying to you in this moment as you remember?
Gracious Jesus, your perfect love led you to the cross, where you poured out yourself that we might be reconciled to you and to one another. Lord God, we confess that we have held up other symbols of remembrance that get in the way of us living as your people, united in your love and reflecting your character in the world. Warm our hearts with the remembrance of your loving faithfulness and simplify our lives that we might carry the simplicity of your invitation to those around us. In Your name, Amen.