It’s easier to recall some things than others. Enjoyable events can usually be recollected easily, while unpleasant things might be more difficult, though not necessarily. Almost everyone has trouble with memory at some point in life. But there are some things we would like to forget as much as possible.
I suspect the events of the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 would fall into this latter category for most Americans. Wouldn’t we rather those passenger jets hadn’t flown into the World Trade towers and the Pentagon, or crashed into the field in Pennsylvania? Don’t we wish all those people had not died that morning? These are questions that answer themselves.
The current health crisis of the coronavirus, affecting virtually the world’s entire population directly or indirectly, is an unpleasant experience, something we rightly wish it wasn’t with us.
And yet such events do happen, and though the memories may fade a little over time, I doubt any of us will forget them entirely, unless old age or some other problem robs us of our ability to remember. Just as those living around the time of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, or the assassination of President Kennedy, or many other dreadful events find it impossible to forget those times (and in some cases may not want to forget them), we will likely be unable to forget them.
Infinitely more important however, we should remember the events of the three days, some 2,000 years ago, that have affected the lives and destinies of countless millions since the dawn of man’s history on earth. These three days involve the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of the living God. The apostle Paul wanted the Corinthian disciples to remember what he had formerly taught them, which, he said, was primary in the gospel story: “
I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, ....” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
Some tragedies in life will, for the most part, always be just that — tragedies. But in Jesus’ case, tragedy has become triumph. The apostle Paul, applying Hosea’s promise of God’s deliverance of his people to our salvation from death, wrote these familiar words:
"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).
May God help us to remember, not only at this time of year, but always, what is most important — the terrible sacrifices made by our Lord, and the wonderful victory that is ours because of those sacrifices.