What We Remember
Updated: Nov 10, 2019
‘Do this in remembrance of me.’ A humble, yet confident, instruction. Suggestion. Request.
What do we remember? What is truly ours to remember, from that night? Thousands of years. Stories told. Vignettes, stitched together, then edited into larger illustrations. Paintings. Ceilings even. What was said? What was seen? What was heard?
What was felt?
A secluded room on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
Thirteen friends. Chosen. Recline in company.
Lamb fills the room. Prepared only hours before. Or was it fish? Both have been stitched into history with symbolic significance. There is meaning.
The meaty aroma rises and tangles into the fragrance of wine and olives swimming in oil and hyssop. Unleavened bread has been baked. One large loaf sits cooling, just in front of Him.
One man. One singular, loving, comforting man.
There’s chatter. Maybe even some jostling for position. Rank. Attention. A few are wondering. Others nudging their neighbours.
Someone raises an eyebrow. Another bows his head in shame.
Then a tilt of the head from the one closest to Him as He reaches for the bread…
What is He saying? Did you hear that? What does it mean?
In a moment of curious self-importance,
I reach for my big red, Oxford Annotated Study Bible.
An effort to find ‘Remembrance.’
There must be more.
Page 2371. There they are. REMEMBER
14 references in all. The very last reference.
‘Do this in remembrance of me.’
There was something else in the Bible.
My Grandpa and my Nanny.
One stacked neatly above the other.
The originals must belong to someone else, as these appear to have been copied, scanned maybe. Who really knows why I tuck some things where I eventually find them years later. I don’t remember.
They’ve both been gone for some time. She thirty-five years. He, ten fewer.
I don’t see them, in my mind’s eye, completely, as often as I used to.
There are bits and pieces that are clear from day to day.
His snow-white hair, deep brown eyes that smiled, whoever looked his way. Her strong frame, and broad hands that could wield an axe with uncanny accuracy, and at length.
Sitting here, seeing them now. In their entirety. I remember all of them. Every bit. How she’d roll her stockings down around her ankles in the heat of summer. How there were only 5 or 6 items hanging in her closet. Dresses. All made from the same pattern, but different materials for different purposes. She wore a simple house dress most days.
He wore grey trousers. When one pair would wear out, they’d be purposed for gardening and other daily tasks, and a new pair used for dress.
He rarely wore a suit jacket, and if he did, it was navy.
He had served.
He was a quiet man.
They loved to garden.
They both cooked. More often than not there was an additional someone at the family table who needed a meal, and was given one.
No questions asked.
They were intelligent. Both. You would have to be, raising a large family in a northern climate.
They never boasted. Well, if she won at cards there’d be a twinkle. Nothing more.
They never complained. It was as if, despite some of the tragedies that life had dealt them, they’d somehow been bestowed with a sense of awe of how precious life really was, and a strength of faith that left them with little doubt.
They had ways of intentionally remembering.
I saw it. A funeral card, or photograph of a lost one, tucked into a small Bible.
A poem cut from the newspaper that held meaning.
A piece of wool from who knows what, marking a passage.
A cross over a doorway.
They remembered, intentionally.
They are why I think remembering is important. They had values.
They were humble.
They were kind. And when I catch myself doing something that one of them used to do,
I feel them move through me. It’s the things they did. Not just what they said. It's symbolic, as though they remain.
And with the others who loved them, and shared their table.
It’s a bit like the eucharist, I suppose. ‘Do this in remembrance of me.’ And he moves through us. He remains.