Our first apartment was four blocks from America’s first cathedral, the Baltimore Basilica. My wife and I could hear the clamoring of church bells every Sunday morning, the massive chimes filling every square foot of our space like a cell phone in a quiet theater.
Before alarm clocks and smartphones, church bells rang to help people remember to pray during the day or as a reminder church was starting soon. The only thing these bells helped me remember was how much I enjoyed quiet.
However, as the months passed in our apartment, I grew accustomed to the cacophony of our urban orchestra – the car horns, the shouting strangers that passed by our building, and even the bells had become a dull hum in the background of our weekend activities. This sound I thought I’d never be able to ignore was soon forgotten.
In the routine of our daily lives, there’s a lot that becomes background noise – the notifications from our phone, the news on our television, or our latest Amazon delivery. As one day inexorably folds into the next, we barely notice the things we once found remarkable. All day.
The same can be said of our spiritual lives as well. The resounding announcement of Christ’s world-saving, sin-slaying sacrifice on the cross that once seemed to fill every square foot of our souls can become muffled in the recesses of our minds. As we get on with the business of living – working, shopping, scrolling, streaming – the Good News subtly becomes old news.
Before Jesus was arrested, He gave His disciples bread and wine to symbolize His body and blood He prepared to give as payment for our sins. As they ate and drank, Jesus gave them the instruction to “Do this in remembrance of me.” .
Communion is a reverberating cymbal which floods our memory with the sacrificial love of Jesus toward us. The Lord’s Supper is more than a modest meal: it is a celebration.
Celebrations like communion, worship, or baptism are resounding bells which can recall our attention from the regular rhythms of our day. They infuse our souls with joy and hope that is so easily drowned out by the despair and anxiety we can experience in our modern world. They can awaken our memory of Christ’s presence with us and within us so His love might echo throughout our lives.
As our celebrations tune our attention to all God has done, and turn our imaginations to all He will do, may they be a sweet sound we don’t ever forget.
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