Memorial Day weekend is coming up. For anyone who is unfamiliar with the American holiday, also known as Decoration Day, it is a day set aside primarily to honor soldiers who were killed in battle. In recent years, it has come under some criticism from those who feel that it celebrates a culture of war, or that it places too much focus on the past– especially a past that has been idealized at the expense of progress. Instead, it has become a time of recreation– backyard barbecues, beach parties, and bargain hunting at flea markets and yard sales.
But much of the real focus of Memorial Day has been lost. Memorials should not be used to idolize or idealize the past; but they serve a purpose in reminding us of hard lessons and the need to keep learning from them. Memorial Day is not about being thrilled or puffed up by our past– it is to be reminded of both the good and the bad, and the need to see the larger picture. We have inherited both freedoms and frustrations; triumphs that came at the expense of others, and trials that will impact future generations. It is right and good that we take time to reflect on such things.
The Bible gives us several examples of memorials– signs and altars and ceremonies that are meant to call things to memory. Some of the memorials involve battles, but many more involve both promises and prophecy. We are to remember God’s faithfulness; His power to rescue, redeem, and restore.
Our greatest memorial as Christians, is not a soldier’s tomb– it is the Empty Tomb! It is the reminder that our greatest battle has already been won, and the one who died to bring us the victory has conquered both Sin and Death.
For God so Loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting Life. (John 3:16 KJV)
Memorial Day is also a good time to remember others in prayer– pray for those who have lost loved ones in the service of our nation; but also those who sacrifice daily for their families, communities, and around the world. Pray for wisdom and opportunity to serve others around us better. Pray for healing and grace– for those who fight internal battles with unforgiveness, betrayal, guilt, vengeance, and more. And don’t forget praise– thank God for His redemptive plan; for the victory won; for the sufficiency of His grace. Thank others around you for their services and sacrifices. Finally, as we honor the sacrifices of others, let’s look for ways we can serve one another better.
*Please note: I will not be posting for the next couple of days due to the holiday. I will return on Tuesday of next week.