Pause, Remember, and Celebrate
By: Rebecca Barlow Jordan
Then He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and shared it with them.
Jesus: This is My body, My body given for you. Do this to remember Me. -Luke 22:9 TPT
Remembering—it’s a practice God commanded His people to do early on. He gave them both commandments and promises to remember.
After God delivered Moses and the Israelites across the Red Sea from over 400 years of slavery in Egypt, He reminded them constantly to “Remember.” He wanted them to understand who He was and how much He loved them—that they were His people declared by promise as far back as Abraham, and to remember what a powerful God He was. Passover became the celebration and foreshadowing of God’s own Son who would one day ultimately deliver His people from sin’s power.
What is it about remembering that’s so important? Why? What are we to remember? For how long?
When God commanded the Israelites to build an altar of stones after He had miraculously drawn back the waters of the Jordan River and led them into their “promised land,” He included the “why.” Why do this? To help them remember what He had done, who He was, and what they meant to Him:
Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea when he dried it up until we had all crossed over. He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever” (Joshua 4:21-24 NLT).
After my husband and I were trained as marriage enrichment leaders, we led marriage retreats and events for about twenty years. One of the exercises we loved to use involved the activity of “remembering.” We gave couples time to think back over their relationship, beginning with when they met, their first kiss, their engagement, wedding, and any special events like birth of children, anniversaries, and other celebrations through the years. We allowed them ample time for their “Memory Journey,” and then asked them to take turns reliving and sharing those memories with their spouse.
We loved those moments, even as we joined them by celebrating our own memory journey. Out of the corner of our vision we witnessed the expressions from couples around us: fresh tears, sweet smiles, hand-holding, new twinkles in their eyes, and even a few affectionate hugs and kisses. Almost without fail, that journey set the romantic stage and positive atmosphere for the rest of the weekend.
Funny how even when difficult times and challenges interrupted the couples’ memories, those thoughts blended in positively to join their unique celebration. Why? Because when they as married couples looked back on their years together—good and challenging ones—with God’s perspective and a grateful heart, they could celebrate the faithfulness of a great God who brought them to the marriage weekend and to those moments with His amazing grace.
We also discovered that as we repeated that process personally in subsequent marriage enrichment retreats we led, the more permanent those sweet memories embedded in our minds.
God wants us to remember…and give thanks. To remember and celebrate. In those unique moments when we can share our reflections together, we no longer rehash, we rehearse. And suddenly the experience becomes a “dress rehearsal” for the future years of our marriage. Pleasurable moments beg for a repeat performance.
An anniversary is never just a date on a calendar. It’s a fragrant pause in the idle of life’s messy moments to say, “I remember God’s grace. I celebrate our journey, and I still love the one I married.”
As Jesus and His disciples shared the bread and drank the wine at the Last Supper (representing His broken body and His blood), why did Jesus say, “Do this to remember me?” Because the Lord’s Supper would become a memory journey that would always take us back to our roots, to remember the price of Jesus’ death for us and His salvation, and to celebrate the victorious future He would give us throughout our lives.
Because in hard times, we remember that Jesus is with us and will never leave us. Because in good times, He is celebrating with us, orchestrating the good plans He has designed for us. And at all times, as we remember His death, life, and Resurrection, our hearts are once again gratefully encouraged that an even greater celebration awaits us one day.
Our marriage is worthy of remembering and of celebration too—and not just at our wedding ceremony or on anniversaries. When we celebrate each other we are remembering the powerful One Who ultimately brought us together, the joy He has given to us, and the plans He still has in store for us.
Have you celebrated your own memory journey together as a married couple lately? Pick a time. Do it soon. Pause… and gratefully remember. Then celebrate BIG.
Rebecca Barlow Jordan is a bestselling inspirational author and day-voted follower of Jesus who loves to paint encouragement on the hearts of others. After five decades of marriage, she and her husband are more passionate about marriage and family than ever. Rebecca has authored and contributed to over 20 books and has written over 2000 other articles, devotions, greeting cards, and other inspirational pieces. She is a regular Crosswalk contributor whose daily devotional Daily in Your Presence is also available for delivery through Crosswalk.com. You can sign up for Rebecca’s free ebook and find out more about her and her encouraging blog at www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com.
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