(Sorry about the previous posting. I sent the message before I was ready.)
Today is Memorial Day in the U.S. This is a day we set aside to remember those who serve in our armed service, and especially those who have given their lives to maintain our freedom. We set aside a number of days throughout the year to remember special events in our history. For example the Jews set up a number of stone monuments at places of importance as they left slavery in Egypt. Fathers would tell their children what God did in those place for the good of His people. Christians have the cross as a constant reminder of the redeeming sacrifice our God has made on our behalf. We live near Washington, D.C. a place filled with monuments of our past. Our nation sets aside a number days throughout the year for remembrance – if they don’t become replace by car sales and store bargains. What is the point? It is covered by the simple phrase – lest they forget. Our history is important. The past actions of our Lord, and those of our ancestors, are important for understanding who we are. They give us direction and commitment for our present days. They remind us of the cost that has been paid for us to live life today, thus keeping us from being arrogant and self satisfied. Days of remembrance are important – lest we forget.
Today is Memorial Day in the U.S. It is a day we honor those who serve in our military and those who have given their lives in the service of our country. Today is more than a day for picnics, barbecues, and the start of the summer vacation season. It is a day of remembering the values for which those who gave their lives have fought. Many have adopted the current slogan “Make America great again.” If there was greatness to America, and I believe there was, it is only because of the values upon which our nation was founded. That foundation acknowledged God as our Creator and His Word, the Bible, as of central importance for guiding our lives. The Psalmist said it clearly, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD…”(33:12) Is America great now? I think it is in part, but not because of the affluence it might provide, or its massive military might. The only greatness is in the hearts of people who are wiling to humble themselves before the Lord who made them, and to give of themselves in love for others. Greatness is only found in the two great commandments from Scripture, to love God above all else, and to love one’s neighbor as one’s self. (Deuteronomy 6:5f & Matthew 22:37f) “Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness,…”(Psalm 33:18)
Good Morning. It is good to be back with you. Though, I can’t say I’m fully back in the grove. The time away was wonderful, restful, and needed. Thank you for your patience, and the good comments I received when we left. Since we were visiting our daughter, who is in that Navy, we were allowed to live in the navy lodge on base. Since this is Memorial Day this give me a bit of a new perspective on celebrating what the services do for us. Nothing can be take away from the honor do to all of our service men and women who have sacrificed life and physical health to maintain our safety and freedom. But I am also aware of the thousands upon thousands of men and women who do routine jobs day in and day out, who are dedicated to their tasks, who are disciplined and obedient to their orders, who remain physically fit, and who can step in on short notice to go wherever they are needed – all for the same purpose of maintaining our safety and freedom. All of these deserve our respect and thanks on this Memorial Day.
On Memorial Day we honor the men and women who serve and have served in our military. Last evening we watched the Memorial Day program from our national capital. It was a moving presentation with numerous stories of sacrifice and selfless service in the cause of freedom. It is right to honor such service. Yet, at the same time it should cause us to long and pray for the time when such service is no longer needed. The Prophet Isaiah wrote, “In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.’ The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”(2:2-4) National leaders have many times quoted these last two sentences in their speeches. Their efforts alone will not bring it about. Only our Lord Jesus will be able to fulfill this promise. Let us pray that He come quickly.
I have ridden in an army tank across fields, been behind a jeep mounted 105mm gun, worked on submarine sonar equipment, and worked with the military in four countries. But I’ve never been in combat, never been shot at, never had a friend die next to me. I am very aware of the sacrifices that men and women, who have done these things, have made for me. I’ve walked through the rows and rows of white markers in a number of military cemeteries, and know that these lives were sacrificed for me, so that I can live the peaceful life I do. We have also recently celebrated the sacrificial death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. God made an ultimate sacrifice in giving His Son for our lives. We are also reminded that our lives have been enriched by many sacrifices of parents, spouses, and friends over many years. As we share Memorial Day we are very aware that our lives, now and eternally, rest upon the foundation of more personal sacrifices that we can possible know. Let us share this day in great humility, and thanksgiving.
Memorial Day is set aside to honor those who have worked hard and made great sacrifices to preserve the freedom of our country. It is a day to remember. Remembering major events and actions is important. We do this all the time with birthdays, and anniversaries. God gave a number of day for the Jews to remember, especially the Passover. We have just come through days of remembrance with Good Friday and Easter Sunday. We should also remember the day of our baptism. This is the day we were brought into the life of Christ. But days of remembrance are only valuable if they have a continuing impact on guiding our thoughts and actions today. We remember our military, but we also pray for their safe return, and support them as best we can. We remember our anniversaries and birthdays, but we also work each day to keep relationships strong. We remember our baptism, but we live and grow in that God-granted covenant daily. Remembering the past calls us to living actions in the present.