The Agora
Bible Articles and Lessons: M

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Memorial meeting, importance

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 more important."

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" (Mat 26:28).

Here is the identical phrase which 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 original brightness.

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" (Mat 12:48-50).

In isolation

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 companionship.

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