Exodus 12:14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.”
My all-time favorite movie is Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I’ve seen it dozens of times and I still get choked up watching it. As much as I adore the devotion and dedication of George and Mary Bailey, I get equally frustrated with the forgetfulness of Uncle Billy. Uncle Billy is infamous in the movie for forgetting. He’s so forgetful he ties strings to his fingers as reminders of the tasks he’s supposed to complete. Throughout most of the movie his forgetfulness serves as comic relief, but at a crucial point even his memory tricks fail him, and his forgetfulness has devastating consequences for the people he loves.
Perhaps the reason, I get so frustrated with Uncle Billy, is because of my own propensity to forget. It is amazing what trivial things I can remember in specific detail, and what crucial things I tend to forget. The hard truth is that we remember what we plan to remember. If someone gave me Super Bowl tickets, I wouldn’t forget about the game—I would definitely remember to go. Why is it then that I forget other important things? Why do I forget to pay an important bill, or remember a promise I made to my children, or remember that I promised my wife I’d do the dishes?
What I work hard to remember shows what I value. When I forget a promise, or an important appointment there is a loss of trust. If I forget to pay a bill it may cost me money in late fees. But if I forget what God has done for me, the spiritual consequences for me and my family could be devastating. That is why God gave the Jewish nation and the Christian church the task of remembering.
Eighteenth century English author, Dr. Samuel Johnson said, “People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.” God instructed the people about the Passover sacrifice, but he established a perpetual ceremony of remembrance so that that they would not forget what God done in delivering them from slavery and from death. But remembering also served a future oriented purpose. Remembering God’s work in the past, prepared them for the work he was preparing for them in the future. The lamb which was sacrificed on Passover would prepare the way for the Lamb of God who would come to take away the sin of the world. The firstborn spared would later remind them of the firstborn offered. A faithful remembering of God’s past grace prepares God’s people to look for his future grace.
So what truths do you need to remember this week? What past blessings do you need to recount? What stories of God’s faithfulness do you need to recount to your children and grandchildren? What has God done in your life that might serve as a monument to future generations that they too can put their trust in God to sustain them through even the darkest of nights.