‘Do this in remembrance of me’, Jesus said at his last supper. But this came to be seen by those who remembered him as also throwing a direct light upon the meaning of his death. He did not kill himself. But, through his being so present to what he was going through, he made his death a self-offering in the same way that he offered his real presence at the Last Supper. This connection makes today Good and Jesus unforgettable.
We don’t remember him as a past event. We are re-connected to him as a present reality flowing through history. Through the personal connection of faith we are turning the past into the present by the alchemy of love. (The beginning is faith, the end is love and the union of the two is God – said St Irenaeus).
The word is ‘anamnesis’. It exists in medical terminology, too, to refer to a patient’s ability to recall and express the full history of his condition. For today it means that what Jesus went through in his death, and what he released, is fully present to us. This presence is there. It therefore has an influence on everyone, or so Christian faith understands.
But it is only real when we become really present to it. It is like discovering that the person we have fallen in love with does actually have feelings for us. We begin to hope. The hope heals the wounds that we didn’t even know we had. And finally, when love can be fully declared, maybe after much suffering, there is an expansion of being beyond the ego of separateness that cannot be described.
Many of you will be going to a Good Friday service today – one of the most popular in the Christian year. Some of you may choose to join the line that forms to reverence the cross. We do so taking our turn, not rushing to the head of the queue. This reminds us that what makes today Good is that it has opened us to a new relationship with this fountain of love. It has also changed our relationship with each other.