To Forget Is To Risk Freedom
By Dot Bowen
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. Luke 22:19 (NIV)
Early on the morning of December 7, 1941, a surprise military attack was launched against the United States Naval Base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. This attack led the United States directly into World War II. Due to the fact the attack happened without a declaration of war and without any warning, the attacks were judged by the Tokyo Trials to be classified as Japanese War Crimes. Franklin D. Roosevelt, America’s Commander in Chief, gathered his men and proclaimed this date would be in our hearts forever and told the world, “We will never forget.”
Sixty years later at 8:45am on Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked 4 airliners and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. The attacks resulted in extensive death and destruction, triggering major United States initiatives to combat terrorism. America’s Commander in Chief. George W. Bush, gathered his men and proclaimed this date would forever be in our hearts and stated, “We will never forget.”
Sometime around 1407 B.C., Israel emerged from the wilderness after fighting and surviving many military battles. Once the appropriate period of mourning for the death of Moses had been observed, the Israelites prepared to march into the Promised Land under their Commander in Chief, Joshua, the son of Nun. However, God told Joshua to first go to the Jordan River and find twelve stones—each one representing one of the twelve tribes of Israel—and build an altar as a symbol of remembrance to the Israelites that God had given them freedom. As Joshua gathered his men, he proclaimed, “We will never forget.”
Around a table sometime in first century A.D., Jesus, acting as the Commander in Chief, gathered twelve men for dinner. He broke bread, poured wine, and proclaimed, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” And the disciples told each other, “We will never forget.” But soon after that very dinner, they fled and they forgot!
Remembering is a crucial element to enjoying freedom. When we remember the price paid for freedom, we tend to recognize and appreciate freedom more readily. When we remember and realize how quickly our freedom can be removed, we set boundaries to protect our freedom. When we remember true freedom comes through the blood of Jesus Christ, no one will be able to take our freedom. True freedom comes from Christ who sets us free from within; Christ alone sets us free. If you have ever been entangled in sin, you know this to be true. Remembering your sin should not cause you to live in condemnation but should serve to remind you of what God did to set you free. Jesus said, “Take this bread, drink from this cup, and remember!” You have been set free through the death of Jesus Christ, and to live in this freedom is to never forget, but to remember!
Further Reading Joshua 4:1-18, Luke 22:7-20