April 24 – Forgotten Memorials

He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” (Luke 22:19)

Read: Judges 2:10-3:31, Luke 22:14-34, Psalm 92:1-93:5, Proverbs 14:1-2

Relate: I first came up with the name “The River Walk” while praying and walking my way down the Riverwalk in Binghamton, NY. For a good stretch of this trail, there are a number of plaques set up to honor various civil rights leaders. I am sure most people in Binghamton are aware of the large statue of Martin Luther pictured above, but I wonder how many know of the many other smaller memorials north of this point on the trail? Of those that are aware, how many have stopped to read even one of them? How many times every day do people walk by this statue of Martin Luther without giving it a single thought.

There are many memorials here in my city of Gaziantep. Even the name of the city is a memorial. It used to (and most often still is) be called “Antep” but they added the “Gazi” (veteran) to commemorate the defeat of the French by the local garrison here in defiance of the treaty Turkey signed and then completely ignored at the end of World War One. Honestly, outside of the first week or so, I haven’t given any of those memorials a single thought. A few times I have been in the castle and seen the propaganda, I mean history, recorded there about that time but otherwise it is ignored by me and the all of the millions living here.

What memorials are peppered throughout your city and community? Do you even know? How often have you walked by them while barely recognizing them except as part of the local landscape?

React: Jesus was leading and preaching a new kingdom. The titles we give to him, “lord and savior”, “incarnate from God”, the one to bring “peace on earth” were all titles and actions attributed to Caesar Augustus. In worshiping Jesus the Christians were setting themselves directly against Rome. They were saying that they were citizens of a different Kingdom and followed a greater King. Rome wasn’t too happy about it and any memorial these early Christians might have tried to erect would have set up would have been torn down right quick.

Rather than a memorial that would be destroyed and forgotten, Jesus instead set up a far greater and lasting one. He set up a living memorial. He took the highest and holiest of Jewish ceremonies and married it with the most common things to eat and drink in His day. Celebrating Passover was the most important event in a good Jewish person’s calendar and just as celebrating communion should be the highest and holiest thing we can do in remembering Christ’s sacrifice. At the same time nearly every time a Jew in Jesus day sat down to eat there would be bread and wine. Before the advent of water purification, they were the two staples of everyone’s meal. Every time we sit down to eat, we have a responsibility to gratitude. In Jesus, in remembering Him, the most sacred and most mundane activities of life are married. Everything we do should be pointing us back to Him.

Respond: 

Dear God, h
Help me to never forget what You have done for me. Your life, death, and resurrection are the three points by which I need to triangulate my life. From the holiest of moments to the lowest of drudgeries, I ask that You would consistently be pointing me back to You. Let my life be another living memorial that people could look and rejoice at what You have done and are doing.
Amen

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6 thoughts on “April 24 – Forgotten Memorials

  1. I do enjoy the way you write your posts. Todays has made me take time to remember, after all that is what a memorial is for. I am not aware of any particular memorials in my town. But thank you for the reminder to remember all that Jesus has done for me.

  2. I’ve never been there, but once again, thanks for the food for thought. I appreciate you challenging my way of thinking about things all the time, whether you mean to or not.

  3. Great post, Beejai.
    In Rome if one stands at a certain spot near the Vatican one can both see the statues of the Caesars and the successions of the popes since the first, Peter. With the present Pope Francis in the Vatican, one needs to ask: Where is Caesar? The Church of Christ lasts for ever, the Roman Empire did not.
    -Alan

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