6. The Importance of the Memorial Meeting
Only two “rites” are absolutely
commanded to the believer: baptism, and the Breaking of Bread. By the first we
join God’s family, and by the second we regularly reaffirm our membership
in this family.
It is surprising that there are any with full
opportunity to attend regularly who are content to be at the Breaking of Bread
just now and then. For this most important service is essentially a
thanksgiving. A casual attitude toward it, with irregular attendance, in effect
declares, “I am thankful to God for the Lord Jesus Christ and what he has
done for me, but not much! And there are other things which I regard as being
Put down in black and white, this looks horrible.
But is there really anything unfair about such a diagnosis?
Would there be such a careless attitude to the
Table of the Lord if it were properly appreciated what this meeting can mean?
Consider the familiar words, “My blood of the new covenant...shed...for
the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28). Here is the identical phrase that is
used about our baptism into Christ. These two holy rites are designed to
supplement one another. Baptism washes away every sin committed up to that
moment. But — such is human frailty and human thinking — spotless
robes of righteousness invariably begin to become drab and soiled. However, the
disciple who lives by faith in Christ knows that with the Memorial Service comes
remission (forgiveness) of sins. There the robe of righteousness resumes its
Yet faced with such startling but delightful
truths as these, there are some who are indifferent to this most important thing
in life, and do not mind openly asserting, by their lack of enthusiasm, that
this is how they feel!
Away from Home
From time to time, believers find themselves away
from their homes, and their home ecclesias, on a Sunday. Such times are fine
opportunities to get to know other Christadelphians, by attending memorial
meetings of other ecclesias. A little foresight and planning before weekend
trips or vacations can be spiritually rewarding, in experiencing at first hand
the true worldwide family fellowship of our brotherhood. A week or two spent on
business in a strange city far from home, rather than being a desolate and
lonely time, can be a wonderful time of sharing with people who are truly
“family” — family in a more meaningful sense, quite often,
than one’s own natural family. As Jesus said,
“Who is my mother, and who are my
brothers? Pointing to his disciples, he said, Here are my mother and my
brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and
sister and mother” (Matt. 12:48-50).
There will be times, of course, when it will be
clearly impossible — or extremely difficult — to attend a Sunday
meeting of Christadelphians. What should be done then? The partaking of the
bread and wine, accompanied by suitable Bible readings and prayers, can be a
tremendously fresh and rewarding experience — even for an individual or a
couple temporarily isolated from all other spiritual