This past Tuesday, our nation remembered the events of September 11, 2001. That tragic day in our nation’s history will forever be remembered and honored as a day when a bold enemy destroyed thousands of lives on American soil. We are reminded of many emotions and principles as we think of the events of that day; we are emboldened thinking of those who have since put their lives at risk in battle. It is certainly a helpful and therapeutic opportunity for Americans to reflect upon this solemn anniversary.
For Christians, our God has purposely designed remembrance into our relationship with Him. Just as Americans honor the price paid for our physical and political freedoms, we as Christians are privileged to regularly remember the price paid for our spiritual freedom.
When Paul wrote what we know as 1 Corinthians, there were many issues he had to address. The common thread among them was division; Corinth had allowed sin to divide the beautiful body of Christ. One of the most appalling things to Paul was their divisiveness during the Lord’s Supper. They were no longer partaking together, both in spirit and in proximity. In correcting this, Paul reminds them of the original purposes of the Lord’s Supper: 1) remember Christ’s death and 2) commune together as the Lord’s body. Using Paul’s instructions in 1 Corinthians 11, let’s briefly notice similarities between our remembrance as Christians and that of Americans on September 11th.
We should be united, not divided. One of the strongest reminders for our country on September 11th anniversaries should be the need to stay united as a nation. It is a sad thought to contrast the feelings of unification from late 2001 with the extreme division six years later. We’ve progressed from fighting over how to defeat the enemy into whether to continue fighting; some political groups in this country have already claimed we’ve lost. How are we supposed to survive as a nation if something as important as war (and real soldiers’ lives) is carelessly used for political cat fights?
Likewise, as Christians we are to come together over the blood and sacrifice of Jesus. Before Paul recounted Jesus’ instructions about the communion, he first told the Corinthians they could no longer be divided. A vital part of our remembrance is coming together to remember. Forsaking the worship assembly not only forsakes the Lord, but also fellow Christians who are remembering their Savior’s sacrifice.
We should participate in a memorial. One of the most observed aspects of the September 11th anniversary every year is the memorial service. Whether a local service or a national service at Ground Zero, our minds, eyes, and hearts are turned toward opportunities to remember and honor the lives lost on that horrible day. Many family members travel many miles to share in these annual experiences. Although nothing can bring their lost loved ones back, it is important to memorialize their lives and their heroics on such a day.
The second prong of the Christians’ communion looks back to the cross of Christ. When Paul looked back to the night Jesus was betrayed, he quoted our Savior’s words: “this is my body…this is the cup of the new covenant…do this in remembrance of me” (1 Cor. 11:24-25). Although we are united during the Lord’s Supper, we observe on a very personal level the horrible death of our Savior. We remember that our sin is just as responsible for His death as anyone else’s (cf. Acts 2:36). We remember his stripes, scars, blood, tears, thorns, love.
We look to a greater day. As we reflect upon the events of September 11, 2001, everyone’s hope is to live in a land where we—and our descendants—do not have to fear outside attacks of that magnitude. We make promises and take actions to ensure our nation will forever be safer.
Paul reminds us that not only do we proclaim the Lord’s death, we do so “until He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). Rightfully so, we make the connection that it’s only because of cruel Calvary that we have Heavenly hope. His darkest day of death is our brightest moment of liberation. As we together remember our Lord’s sacrifice, may we do so viewing our future reward.
May we continue to pray for our nation as she proclaims freedom; may we together as Christians proclaim the power of the Cross…in this life and the next.
Have a great week!