Willingly I shall bring myself
To accept the cross and cup,
I drink as my Saviour did
For his mouth,
Which flows with milk and honey
Has made the cause
And bitter taste of suffering
Become sweet through first drinking himself.
English Translation by Francis Browne
• • •
The Passover Seder is ordained in the Torah: “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord. . . . You shall observe the feast of unleavened bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt: therefore you shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as an ordinance for ever” (Exod. 12:14, 17). The Passover is to be observed as a “memorial day.” Biblically understood, this is a world removed from what we usually mean by “memorial.” Memory (remembrance) in biblical thought does not mean “calling to mind.” “Remembering” means present and active. That is the reason for the statement in the Passover Haggadah that it was not our ancestors who were brought by God out of bondage into freedom, but we ourselves. The Seder supper is not a memorial of God’s saving action in the past, but an appropriation of that same saving power in the present.
…Similarly, if we say that the Lord’s Supper is a “memorial,” we do not mean that we are simply thinking about Jesus’ last supper. When we repeat Jesus’ words, “do this in remembrance of me,” in the communion service, we do not simply call Jesus to mind. Jesus is actively present with power in the communion of the people. Disputes about the Lord’s Supper have divided the Christian church, but understanding the biblical concept of remembrance can help us. We are not just thinking about Jesus’ actions in the upper room; we acknowledge that he is present and acting with the community gathered at the table in the present time. The doctrine of the real presence of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper can be understood in this way by everyone, from the most sophisticated person to the simplest.
• Fleming Rutledge. The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ