In the County of Flanders, in southern Belgium, there is a large field — a cemetery — lined row on row with white grave stones.
Do you know who is buried there? — Soldiers, mainly from the First World War a long, long time ago. It was a big war and many people died.
Inbetween all the stones grow tiny little, red flowers. They grow wild there. No one planned a garden or planted them on purpose. They just pop up freely from the ground in this large cemetery.
Do you know what these flowers are called? — Poppies!
Almost a hundred years later and thousands of kilometres away we still remember the soldiers who died during the Great War and who are buried in Flanders Field. What reminds us of their great sacrifice? — We wear poppies.
In order to help us remember something important that happened a long time ago, we sometimes need something we can see, touch and feel. We need something concrete.
And that’s what happens whenever we eat a Holy Meal during worship at church. We gather at the altar at the front to remember the sacrifice Jesus made for us by dying on the cross and rising to new life on Easter. It’s a celebration of remembering because what Jesus did was truly amazing.
We eat the bread and drink from the cup to remember Jesus. We taste and feel and digest real food. In doing something concrete, like eating and drinking, we recall that Jesus’ love for us is real, even today.
In church we don’t just remember something that happened a long time ago. We remember in order to celebrate something real that is happening right now, right in front of our eyes. Because Jesus is alive. And his love for you and me is very real — as real as we’re sitting here this morning talking and listening and singing and praying.
Thank you, Jesus, for giving me things to wear, to eat, to drink — so that I can remember important events in history. Help me to be faithful in act of remembering — so that I can live out the promise of your presence, and the reality of your love for me and my neighbour.