Memory is a strange thing once you start to look into it. A memory isn’t so much stored, as shaped and imagined.
In fact, every time we remember something, we’ve created it again, we’ve made something new. There is no solid real memory of an event, only our creative re-interpretation and reflection upon that event.
Scientist have used this insight, memories get re-made every time we remember them, to short circuit the process in lab rats, thus destroyed particular rat memories forever
—in fact a similar process is currently being used to heal some soldiers with PTSD.
So, in a sense, the only memories we have are reflections upon our previous memory of the thing
—we can only remember what we last remembered,
each time we remember we’ve created a whole new memory.
And this makes a certain amount of sense when you think about it, when you get caught, fixating on one memory, doesn’t it grow, becoming bigger than the original event? You end up saying something stupid, no one else remembers it, but it dogs you for days, because you keep re-creating it.
I bring this up, not because I want to talk to you about neuroscience, I have a feeling the children’s movie “Inside Out” could do a better job than I,
but instead I bring up the issue of memory, because Maundy Thursday is all about remembering.
putting together again,
a new collective memory every time we do this! Adding to the memory of what it means
to be People of God,
to be forgiving people,
to be foot washing people,
to be holy meal together people.
Tonight, we remember!
Tonight, we remember.
This whole night, is memory.
Tonight as I say the words of institution, for this Danny and Gianna’s first communion, we’ll be remembering Paul’s words… they themselves a memory…
Paul remembering Jesus’ last meal, Jesus’ last meal remembering the Passover meal.
Passover, a meal of remembrance, remembering the Israelite’s flight out of Egypt to freedom.
Each of these memories, putting it all together again,
each of these meals, shifting and holding onto what it means to be God’s faithful people
—re-making our collective memory every time we do it!
Remembering who we are again, and yet for the first time,
because it’s a whole new memory each time!
Remembering the escape from Egypt
—we are slaves and we are wanderers,
so we will neither enslave, nor mistreat the migrant in our midst.
Remembering Jesus’ last meal
—He models for us Love.
The love Jesus saw Mary model for him when she wiped his feet in preparation for his burial.
He models for us Love, giving us an example, a physical one
—one we can remember
—who will soon forget someone messing with your feet!
He models what it means to love one another, being friends with one another in such a way that our hands are wet with each other’s muck!
He models the love of a leader
—intimate service leads the way!
Remembering Paul’s words
—his memory of what Christ does—what this meal is!
He reminds us, like the Corinthian community—that we so often forget to check our social difference at the door…
that we expect what goes on in here in our life together to cling too closely to our culture.
He reminds us, that dividing the table, in any way, by class and cash, like the Corinthians,
or by race, or gender, sexual orientation or political proclivities, is beyond the pale!
All kneel before the altar,
all receive body and blood
—all proclaim Christ given over for our sake.
remembering here together…
remembering this night who we are,
re-creating our collective memory as People of God!
Remembering our first communion
—forming one of our earliest memories of our Life Together
—a memory, Gianna and Danny,
that I hope you will return to time and time again,
that you will cultivate,
that we… take a moment to look at the people around you here tonight
—that we all together create, and in so doing become the Body of Christ for this night,
Tonight, we remember.