As noted in the prior post, memorial services celebrate the life of a deceased person. Before he died Jesus gave his desciples a way to remember him. While the broken bread and wine from bruised grapes were emblematic of his dying, I’m not sure that Jesus meant for us to make so much efffort to remember his death. One person reported that he refused to look at a body in the casket, preferring to remember the deceased as a living vivacious person.
In the 1960’s I was a bishop of about ten churches. Twice a year I went to each church to preside over a communion service. I think now that I over-emphasized the manner and meaning of the death of Jesus. If I were to live those years over I would give much more emphasis to the life of Jesus in my teaching and preaching. For to live as Jesus lived is to be the salt of the earth and a light to the world. That is my faith.
On Sunday I listened to a speech by Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist, who used graphs and pictures to protray the dangers facing the earth’s population. Being a scientist, he offered some practical solutions to global warming, national debt, growing inequality, and the erosion of the family. His concern was for the United States.
As a citizen, I honor the insights of Haidt the social scientist. But as a christian minister, I remember Jesus and the life he lived. I have a word for the church. What great good for the whole world would the world-wide church be, if it gave up the trappings of Christmas except the truth that peace comes to persons who have good will toward each other and if all Christians lived toward others as Jesus lived, even if it meant their deaths.