Advent Devotionals - December 19th

Introit
"Remember us, O Lord, with the favor that thou bearest unto thy people; O visit us with thy salvation: that we, beholding the felicity of thy chosen, may rejoice in the gladness of thy people; and may glory with thine inheritance. We have sinned with our fathers: we have done amiss and dealt wickedly."

There is an echo of “remembering” in the Psalm from which this text comes. Psalm 106 begins with “remember us,” but just after our text, it notes the sin and wickedness as “they…did not consider [God’s] wondrous works; they did not remember the abundance of [God’s] steadfast love.”

God’s people cry to Him to remember them even as they have not remembered God’s faithful covenant love.

We are not always good at remembering. We easily get spiritual amnesia. We forget all the good things that God has done and is doing in our lives.

The result of forgetting is that we feel like God is absent, and as a result, we begin to question His love and power.

Remembering is something we actively choose to do. When we re-member, we put things back together. We deliberately think back and bring to mind what has happened. There is even a sense in which we enter into the event again, almost at times re-living them.

When we remember, God’s past faithfulness comes alive again. We are reminded that God was with us in a way that encourages us that God is with us. Remembering builds our faith and confidence in God. Remembering, then, is a way of looking back that allows us to look forward. That’s why the Bible calls us to remember!

Remembering is good for our spiritual health! And one of the easiest ways to remember is to give thanks, to intentionally thank God for all His “goodness and loving-kindness…for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for [God’s] immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ” (Prayer Book, 25).

When we slow down and remember, as the General Thanksgiving noted above invites us to do, it makes us aware of God’s “wondrous works [and] steadfast love” (Psalm 106:7) in a way that helps us grow spiritually.

There is a further remembering that we need, though. Each week, we celebrate Holy Communion “in remembrance” of Jesus. This remembering uses a word (anamnesis) that not only means to recall something, but to make it present. When we remember Jesus in Communion, we are making the power of His saving death present in our midst.

As we bring the power of Jesus’ saving work into our midst, it is meant to build our faith! Not just as we recall His saving love in our lives, but as we actually take His saving life, His grace, into us through the sacrament. The sacrament, then, feeds us “with…spiritual food,” assures us “that we are true members of…the blessed company of” God’s people, and gives us grace “to continue in that holy fellowship and do all the good works” God has prepared for us (Post Communion Prayer, Prayer Book, 121).

Remembering has great power in our spiritual lives as it helps us become more like Jesus and to continue His work of making disciples of all nations! The incredible news in this Psalm, though, is that even though we are prone to forget, God does not punish us as we deserve. He “remembered his covenant, and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love.”

Even though we forget, we can confidently cry out to God to remember us. Why? Because of who He is. He is the One who has bound Himself in covenant love with his people, like a husband to a bride. God never forgets His love for us!

Fr. Karl Dietze

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