“In Remembrance”

“IN REMEMBRANCE”
“…This do in remembrance of Me” (Lk. 22:19)

     INTRO.:  A song which emphasizes the importance of remembering the death of Christ by partaking of the Lord’s supper on the first day of the week is “In Remembrance” (#163 in Hymns for Worship Revised, and #295 in Sacred Selections for the Church).  The text was written by Roland Rudolph "Rue" Porter, who was born near Green Forest, in Boone County, AR, on Apr. 4, 1890.  His mother was a widow, and the family knew the hardships of life in that Ozark Mountain in the early years of the twentieth century.  The community offered little in the way of formal education, but Porter seemed to have made good use of what was available.  Baptized into Christ in 1908 by James Brinkley, a gospel preacher in Green Forest who was also a blacksmith, he began preaching in a rural community near Harrison, AR, in 1911.  Two years later he married Nancy Thomason, and four children were born to them, Roy D., who died in 1939; Noline (Mrs. Jack Ricketts); T. Coy; and Dr. V. F. Porter. 

     Like many other preachers, Porter had to provide a part of his own support, which he did working as a carpenter.  Much of his early preaching was in meeting work, but he did do local work in Bristow, OK, from 1919 to 1928.  After moving to Neosho, MO, in 1931, where he made his home for the rest of his life, he established many congregations in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and other areas.  Also, holding gospel meetings in at least thirty states from coast to coast, he baptized over 8,000 people, preached the gospel on more than fifty radio stations, and held around forty debates, including one with Carl Ketcherside at Ozark, MO, in 1937.   Later he edited a religious paper called The Christian Worker for several years beginning in 1955.  In addition, he authored several books and penned either words or music or both for a few hymns.  The tune for this one was composed by William Washington Slater (1885-1959; see #394).  The song was first published in 1942. 

     Porter’s last article for The Christian Worker was written on July 7, 1967, and his death occurred on August (one source says September) 25, 1967, at the Elmhurst Nursing Home in Webb City, MO, after which his body was buried in the Hazel Green Cemetary at Boulder City, MO.  In 1985, Don Deffenbaugh of Neosho, MO, released the biography of Porter entitled Uncle Rue.  Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, “In Remembrance” appeared in the original edition of the 1971 Songs of the Church edited by Alton H. Howard (but not in subsequent editions).  Today it may be found in the 1978/1983 Church Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Hymns for Worship, Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.  Interestingly enough, it was not included in any of Will Slater’s books that are in my collection, though some of Porter’s other songs are.

     The song is obviously intended to help prepare people’s minds for partaking of the Lord’s supper.

I. Stanza 1 mentions assembling on the Lord’s day
“On this Lord’s day we assemble ‘Round the table of the Lord;
Happy hearts are made to tremble When we hear His blessed Word.”
 A. The term “Lord’s day” was universally used by early church writers to refer to the first day of the week: Rev. 1:10
 B. This is the day on which early Christians assembled to break bread, symbolized by the table of the Lord: 1 Cor. 10:21
 C. In addition to partaking of the Lord’s supper, happy hearts are made to tremble when they hear His blessed word just as Paul preached when the disciples gathered together in Troas: Acts 20:7

II. Stanza 2 mentions partaking of the bread
“We recall His broken body As we look upon this bread;’
‘Give ye thanks, divide, and eat it In my memory,’ He said.”
 A. The body of Jesus was hung upon the cross for us: Heb. 10:5-7
 B. We recall that “broken” body as we eat the bread: 1 Cor. 11:23-24
 C. He said that we should give thanks and eat it in His memory: Matt. 26:25

III. Stanza 3 mentions partaking of the cup
“And this crimson cup reminds us Of that dread scene long ago;
When He died in pain and anguish, There His blood was made to flow.”
 A. The cup is the communion of the blood of Christ: 1 Cor. 10:16
 B. Its purpose is to remind us of that dread scene long ago as we drink “in remembrance”: 1 Cor. 11:25-26
 C. Thus, in our mind’s eye we can see His pain and anguish as His blood was made to flow: Jn. 19:34

IV. Stanza 4 mentions remembering the purpose of His death
“There in agony He suffered On the cross for you and me;
Now, upon the throne He’s reigning, Blessed Lamb of Calvary.”
 A. The purpose of the agony that He suffered on the cross was for you and me that He might die for our sins: 1 Cor. 15:3
 B. Now, having suffered the death of the cross, He is reigning upon the throne, exalted at the right hand of God: Phil. 2:8-11
 C. We should acknowledge Him as the blessed Lamb of Calvary: Rev. 5:6-1

     CONCL.:  The chorus offers thanks to God for Christ as our Savior and for the memorial of His love.
“Thanks to God for such a Savior, Now enthroned in heaven above;
Thanks for this exalted favor, Blest memorial of His love.”
There are many good songs to help prepare our minds for the partaking of the Lord’s supper, but few explain the what, the how, and the why concerning the communion service as well as this one, which reminds us that everything which we do during this part of our worship is to be done “In Remembrance.”

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