Thursday, January 13, 2011


Last Sunday, we celebrated the Baptism of our Lord Sunday by reaffirmation of our Baptism or renewal of our baptism. And, during the service, the pastor tells the congregation: Remember your Baptism and be thankful.

In Holy Communion, Jesus says: “Do this in remembrance of me…”

Remember is a big word with the church. Now, in our world of literal truth, some try to make this word “remember” a flat, literal, thing. Remember is reduced to a simple thing like remembering an appointment or remembering to lock the doors at night. You know, you’re driving down the road and you forget where you’re going. You can’t remember.

One of the most frightening things for many in old age is a disease that robs a person of memory. George Bush, the Elder, was president and visited in a nursing home. He came up to a lady in a wheel chair and shook her hand. He said to her: “Do you know who I am?” She said: “No, but the lady at the desk can tell you…”

Remember your baptism and do this in remembrance of me is more than just remembering to pick up the eggs. Now, some say that it’s nothing more. You receive Holy Communion and you think a nice thought about the meaning of it. You remember it; you remember Jesus.

It’s more than that. We do forget- almost everything. We say we won’t; but we do forget.

When Israel was ready to move into the Promised Land, Moses begged them: “When you get there, remember the Lord your God. When you eat fruit that you didn’t harvest, and you live in houses that you didn’t build- when you get wealthy remember that it was God who gave you the power to get this wealth. Remember the Lord your God.

When we are baptized, as a baby or an adult, we are given a great gift. We are given a relationship to God in Jesus Christ, and we are enrolled in a memory, a history, a story.

In church we call this “anamnesis” which is a Greek word that means “remembrance”. See how close the word is to “amnesia” which means to forget.

It’s more than just think a nice thought about it; we remember. In church, we enter into the memory and the memory overtakes us. So, we sing at Lent, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord….” Forget being literal…when we’re gathered at table, there’s the juice and cup, there are the other disciples and right across from us is Jesus of Nazareth.

People who are baptized as babies are accustomed to saying: “I don’t remember when I was baptized…” Well, if all you can remember is what you have experienced, then you’re lost. We remember the whole story; I wasn’t there or was I?”

We read about Jesus’ baptism at the Jordan, and for a moment we’re there. Standing among the others by the Jordan, we see the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world.

Remember your baptism. Do this in remembrance of me. It all comes together in church. Open your heart and your mind; you’re more than just remembering to get a loaf of bread. We remember when we were slaves in Egypt and God sent Moses. We remember when David was anointed King and…We remember that Job lost everything. We remember that night in Bethlehem and that day in Jerusalem. It’s all ours; we remember.

See you in Church!
Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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