Paul wrote to Timothy, “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David.”
Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick shares these thoughts about what Paul wrote to Timothy in his blog, The Power of Remembering Jesus Christ.
Every event in your life and every event in history has to be seen in a new light because of Who Jesus is and the fact that He rose from the dead, beginning the resurrection from the dead that will eventually encompass every person who has ever or will ever live.
To remember that is not the same kind of remembering that you do when you remember to walk the dog in the morning or to take out the trash. It is to meditate on it, to refer every aspect of your life to it. If you always keep in mind Who Jesus is and that He rose alive again from the tomb, then you will be comforted. And you will find yourself reordering your life around that truth.
The Power of Remembering Jesus Christ, Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick, Feb. 20, 2019 blog
“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David.”
Bishop Kenneth Carder told of some friends whose 22-year-old son was killed in a tragic automobile accident. He reported that when the family and friends gathered in the sanctuary for the service of death and resurrection, some of the great hymns of the church were sung. Faith was affirmed by reciting the Apostles’ Creed. The choir offered a choral arrangement of Psalm 23. The congregation prayed prayers from the liturgy as they remembered God’s promise of faithfulness even in challenging and difficult times.
A few weeks following the service, the grieving mother spoke with Bishop Carder about her experience of the service:
I was too hurting to sing the hymns. I could not say the creed with confidence, but when I couldn’t sing or affirm my faith, the church did it for me. When it seemed that life had fallen apart, the church reminded me that the foundation stands firm.
Paul defined what the mother told Bishop Carder with these words: “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David.”
New Testament scholar John Knox defined what the mother told Bishop Carder with these words, “the Church is the people who remember Jesus.”
The biblical story of remembering is the story of looking faithfully into the future. It is not the ministry of remembering when, it is the ministry of where. It is not the ministry of the past. It is the ministry of the future as we realize who God is calling us to become. This is why the ministry of the Church is the ministry of remembering Jesus. This is why we gather at Fort Hill to worship. Remembering Jesus is why we gather to learn and are seeking to begin new Sunday School classes for our children and youth. Remembering Jesus is not the discipline of looking back to when things used to be. Remembering Jesus is the discipline of looking forward to when things will be. Remembering Jesus is why we give our time and our resources to the ministry of our congregation. When we remember Jesus, we remember that the foundation stands firm as we order our lives around our faith.
Compare what John Knox wrote about the Church being the people who remember Jesus with what author, professor, and lecturer Joseph Campbell told Bill Moyers in a PBS interview. In the interview, Campbell confessed that most of his friends were living “wasteland lives.” He said that they are “just baffled; they’re wandering in the wasteland without any sense of where the water is – the Source that makes things green.”
The people to whom Jeremiah prophesied were wandering in the wasteland. Their kings had failed them royally by forgetting the Source that makes things green. Speaking on behalf of God, Jeremiah condemned the kings of Judah for being unfaithful shepherds who destroyed and scattered the sheep of God’s pasture.
Jeremiah wanted the people of Judah to remember the promise of God’s faithfulness as he prophesied that “the days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David, a righteous Branch.”
Paul wanted Timothy to understand that the promise of God’s faithfulness of a righteous descendant from David’s lineage was fulfilled through Jesus, a descendant of David. Paul wanted Timothy to remember that the purpose of faithful remembering is not our remembering of God. Instead, Paul wanted Timothy to understand that the purpose of faithful remembering is to remember that God has remembered us, not because of who we are, but because of who God is.
In his book, Some Things are Too Good Not to Be True, James Moore writes about a Dennis the Menace cartoon that helps to explain why the Church is “the people who remember Jesus.”
As you know, Dennis is indeed a menace to his next-door neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Wilson, and yet Mrs. Wilson continues to be kind and gracious to Dennis. This particular cartoon shows Dennis and his little friend Joey leaving Mrs. Wilson’s house, their hands full of cookies. Joey says, “I wonder what we did to deserve this.” Dennis answers and his answer is on the target: “Look, Joey, Mrs. Wilson gives us cookies not because we’re nice, but because she’s nice.
Some Things are Too Good Not to Be True, p. 86, James Moore
This is the mission of the Church. This is the mission of this congregation. To order our lives after the example of Christ so we may remember who God is calling us to become as we remember Jesus.
The Church is “the people who remember Jesus” because the Church is the people who remember God’s faithfulness prophesied by Jeremiah, proclaimed by Paul, and promised through Jesus. God’s faithfulness is why we gather to worship together, learn together, rejoice together, hope together, grieve together, heal together, laugh together, cry together, live and proclaim a resurrected faith together. God’s faithfulness is why the foundation stands firm as we remember Jesus.
The People Who Remember Jesus
by Pastor Marc Brown
Accompanying scriptures: Jeremiah 23:1-6, II Timothy 2:8-13
(full online service video below)
July 18, 2021