I’d never really thought of that word, ‘remembrance’ before. I just dismissed it as a weird, churchy way of saying ‘memory’.
Then I read this, by Rachel Wilson (whose husband occasionally writes on this blog ;-) ):
To remember means literally to re-member. To take the disparate limbs of our memories and reconstruct a coherent body, and to do so in a way in which makes sense (to us at least).
As Christians we bring not just our own individual memories (the painful and the haunting, the joy-filled and the mortifying) to this re-membering exercise but we are also invited to fit these memories within a far bigger story, a communal memory.
Did you hear the lightbulb click on?
To remember is to put the broken pieces of the body back together again, but not just to do it in our own, fallible, individualistic way, but to join the pieces together with all the remembrances of the saints through the ages. And in fact, with the remembrances of God himself:
Remembrance is an act of love. God remembers us and his remembrance, his love is the foundation of the world. In Christ, we remember. We become again beings open to love and we remember. The Church, in its separation from “this world”, on its journey to heaven, remembers the world, remembers all men, remembers the whole of creation, takes it in love to God. The Eucharist is the sacrament of cosmic remembrance: it is indeed a restoration of love as the very life of the world.
(Seen in a tweet by Charles Meeks, quoting from For the Life of the World by Radner and Schmemann.)
Jesus’ body, like the bread, was broken, and in some mysterious way, as we divide it among ourselves, and eat it, remembering, we participate in putting it back together again, in restoring God to his rightful place in our hearts, and working towards the time when all things are restored, when Christ’s body at last dwells together in unity.
So yeah, I’m looking forward to church reopening and the body (re)building act of communion being possible again.