By Jon Bloom, DesiringGod.com.
This weekend Americans will commemorate Memorial Day, a holiday of collective national remembrance. Many will gather in cemeteries and civic parks for grateful and sometimes tearful ceremonies. This will be a good and appropriate kind of remembering. It is important that we remember the immense price hundreds of thousands of soldiers have paid with the currency of their life-blood so that we can enjoy our political and religious freedoms.
But this kind of remembering will not demand much of us beyond renewing our grateful resolve to not take for granted our freedoms. There will be a brief recollection, hopefully a prayer and then we’ll move on with our leisurely plans.
A demanding remembering
But a Memorial Day kind of remembering will not suffice for our suffering Christian brothers and sisters. The remembering that God requires of us demands sustained action:
Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. (Hebrews 13:3)
When the author of Hebrews tells us to “remember,” he isn’t talking about a fond, grateful private reflection. What he means is, “go help them,” and the original Greek conveys the sense, “keep helping them.” When we remember our war dead, we don’t remember them as though we were dead with them. But we are to remember the imprisoned Christians “as though in prison with them.” That is a demanding remembering.
We are to remember mistreated Christians as though we were sharing mistreatment. We are to react to our brothers’ and sisters’ affliction just like our entire body reacts to the pain when one member of our body is afflicted. That is a demanding remembering.