[Magdalen] Eucharistic prayer

Simon Kershaw simon at kershaw.org.uk
Mon Oct 21 13:15:58 UTC 2019

Picking up on this one point from Scott ...

I too have heard this ("re-membering") suggested from the pulpit and 
read it elsewhere.

Whilst it might be thought a nice sermon illustration, I think we should 
be careful about any suggestion that this is the meaning of 
"remembrance" and "remembering", because it simply isn't. The word 
derives not from "member" but from "memory", the intruded "b" being an 
artefact of the development of English pronunciation.

So literally it means a deliberate act of bringing something into the 
memory, a deliberate act of recall.

As for "member" -- did you know that the earliest recorded meaning in 
English in the OED, circa 1300, refers to the genitals? The earliest 
reference in English to it meaning other body parts (such as the tongue 
or the limbs) is 1384 in Wyclif's bible, where it is also used 
figuratively of us as members of the body of Christ. Having said that, 
the OED also suggests that all these meanings were already present in 
the Latin "membrum".

Anyway -- completely different words, even if useful as an aide-memoire.


On 2019-10-20 01:17, Scott Knitter wrote:

> And we tend to have a strong-willed theologian or two on any liturgical
> commission who wins everyone over to a particular idea. I've heard 
> sermons
> asking us to think of "remembrance" as "re-membering" - not a repeat of 
> the
> one Sacrifice but a renewal of our membership in Christ, our being the 
> Body
> of Christ. And the purpose of our doing Eucharist is ("for") that
> re-member-ance, not simply a calling to mind (which perhaps "in
> remembrance" has come to mean in US English as opposed to UK? Maybe an
> eyeroll or two, and I may be remem...er, recalling this heretically 
> somehow.

Simon Kershaw
simon at kershaw.org.uk
St Ives, Cambridgeshire

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