Luke 22:19b - (Jesus said) "Do this in remembrance of Me."
On the 21st of October, in the year 1805 of our Lord, off the coast of Spain, the Battle of Trafalgar was fought.
In the last great naval action of that era, the fleet of England took on, and emerged victorious against, the combined ships of France and Spain. It was a battle with lasting consequences. You see, Trafalgar placed England in the position where she could control the seas for the next 100 years. By almost every standard, the English victory was a resounding success.
You may have noted, I used the words, "by almost every standard." You see, Admiral Lord Nelson, the Commander of the Fleet, and the architect of the battle plan, was killed, the victim of a French sniper. Dearly loved by those under his command, Nelson was deeply mourned and, even today, things connected to him -- and his life -- have become incredibly valuable.
This explains why the auction of a 34 x 36 inch piece of cloth has stirred up quite a commotion.
The cloth is part of the Union Jack, the flag flown from Nelson's own ship, Victory, during the battle. But there's more. The flag was also used at Nelson's funeral. At the ceremony, the sailors were supposed to drape the admiral's casket in the flag before it was lowered into the ground.
Nelson's men couldn't do it.
Wishing a memento of their beloved leader, they took the flag and tore it into pieces. Over the centuries most of those flag pieces have ended up in museums. All of which makes this flag segment a rare item which will command a high price. (Don't worry about bidding, though. By the time you read this the auction will be over.)
I imagine most of us can understand those sailors. After all, don't we have our own keepsakes from a favorite relative? It's natural to want and remember someone who is special to you.
The same principle holds true in the area of religion.
That is why, over the centuries, pieces of "the true cross of Jesus" have multiplied until now there are enough pieces to build a small house. It is also why relics like the Shroud of Turin are enthusiastically venerated by many and challenged by even more.
Of course, if a person really wished to remember the Savior whose life was spent winning forgiveness and salvation for sinful humankind, they could do no better than to receive His body and blood in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
Not only does a communicant obey and remember the Savior in the way He asked of His followers, the believer also receives the forgiveness of sins, which is so very precious to anyone who loves the Lord Jesus.
Oh, one other thing: unlike Nelson's flag which has a limited number of pieces, the bread and wine, the body and blood of the Sacrament cannot run out.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord there are a few generals and admirals who have saved their nation for a century or two. May I always give thanks for the Savior who gave His life so that sins might be forgiven and believers in every place and time might be rescued forever from sin, the devil, and death. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by the Chicago Tribune on January 11, 2018. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: click here.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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