He had been their Commanding Officer for the past three years, and he had come to be both their leader and their friend; they trusted him completely.
This night was supposed to be a celebration, their favorite holiday meal. The trimmings were there, the rituals, the singing, but the night somehow had taken a darker tone than they had expected. The men didn't know what the C.O. knew. They knew he was about to embark on a dangerous mission, but they had no idea it was a suicide mission. The C.O. knew it though.
And he knew it wasn't just any old suicide mission. He knew it was going to result in two things: unspeakable torture for himself, and the turning point of the war resulting in the salvation of his people, and of these men of his whom he had come to love dearly.
He didn't explain it all to them; he had tried a few times, but they just didn't get it.
So this night, rather than wallowing in his fate, he merely looked at the yearly holiday meal rituals with which they were all familiar, and saw them in a new light. As the meal progressed, he co-opted these ancient rituals and cryptically told his men, "Whenever you do this in the future, remember me."
On the last night of this life, he told them to "have each others' backs", and to "remember me".
Two-thousand years later, many of us gather yearly, like that original holiday Passover meal; some gather quarterly; and some gather weekly.
I realized this morning, that if I weren't attending a Christian assembly every Sunday morning, and participating in a very simplified, stripped-down version of that meal, I would probably just go about living life, oblivious to his last request.
I may not remember Jesus and his sacrifice particularly well, but I'm thankful he gave me a trigger to spur that periodic remembrance, so that I can slow down just a few seconds, and lift my cup in honor to Jesus, and say, "I remember."