What do you think of when you hear that Memorial Day is right around the corner - the start of summer vacation, a day off from work, backyard barbecues, or sales at your favorite stores?
In some ways, Memorial Day can be overlooked because, in a busy world, we see it as just another holiday or day off; however, Memorial Day represents a time to remember and reflect.
The ability to remember is a beautiful gift that God has blessed us with. With our reflection, we can enjoy fond memories of our childhood, playing in the grass, running with friends, and enjoying much simpler times. We may see our first love, when we got married, when we had children, buying our first home, and so many other thoughts that can come to mind. We can also weep with our memories when we think of people we lost over the years and those that we will not see again until we get to heaven. That's why it's important to remember and take the time to reflect, but what about when you forget?
There's a funny story about a man named John who had a memory problem. John ran into a friend of his one day and he had not seen him in a very long time. John said, “Frank, do you remember how I had a bad memory?” Frank said, “Yep, I sure do.” “Well, it’s not that bad anymore. I went to a lecture and they taught us tools on how to improve your memory. Now, I can remember anything.” Frank said, “Wow, that's awesome! Do you remember the name of the lecture so I can look it up?” “Uhh,” John said slowly, “let me think. My wife was there. I’ll just ask her.” John turned to his wife who was nearby, but then turned back to Frank and asked, “What is the name of that red flower that has the stem with the thorns on it?” Frank said, “Are you talking about a rose?” John then sighed as he said, “Oh yeah, thank you." He turned to his wife and said, “Hey, Rose, what was the name of the lecture we went to?”
While everyone wants to have a sharp memory, there are events that we do not want to forget and Memorial Day is a reminder to reflect on some of those memories.
Memorial Day started out as Decoration Day, as a way to adorn military headstones with flowers to honor those who sacrificed their lives for our country. When it became a national holiday, it was dedicated to setting aside time to think about those we lost to war and a way to remember our loved ones. We see this kind of remembrance in the Bible, too.
When God destroyed the world with a devastating flood, he gave Noah a special sign so that He would know that there would never be a devastating flood again, and that was a rainbow. God said, "I have set my rainbow in the clouds and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth,” Genesis 9:13. That's why when we see rainbows, we can reflect and remember that God is faithful to His promises.
There are a few special times in the Bible where we learn about remembrance. These familiar stories are designed to help us remember and reflect on very important and significant dates and their meanings.
Passover occurred during the time when the Children of Israel were about to leave Egypt after 400 years of slavery. God told Moses and the people to kill a lamb and slay it and then mark the doorposts with blood. This was to signify that wherever God saw the blood, the death angel would not send any death or destruction to that home. The angel would pass over, "The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt,” Exodus 12:12-13. After the Children of Israel left Egypt, they would celebrate Passover as a time to remember God delivering them from 400 years of bondage, and it's important to remember that God is faithful.
Another memorial that we honor is the Sabbath day. God created the world in 6 days, but on the 7th, He rested. The Sabbath was noted in the 10 Commandments as a day of rest. That's why we're told to honor the Sabbath and keep it holy.
Image: Framework LA Times
It was also noted that when Jesus was crucified, He was raised up on the first day of the week. The Day of Pentecost even took place on the first day and churches have adapted to having their services on the first day of each week to commune with God, as John referred to it as "The Lord's Day." It's another way to reflect on God and spend time in remembrance of how we were delivered and how thankful we are for God's deliverance to His chosen people. We remember all that God did for us and we dedicate ourselves to Him, and at times, we rededicate our lives to God through Jesus Christ.
COMMUNION: THIS DO IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME
Finally, we use reflection with Communion. when Jesus sat with His disciples, he “…took bread and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ “In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this … in remembrance of me,’” 1 Corinthians 11:24-25.
We take Communion to remember Jesus's sacrifice on the cross for the propitiation of all sins. In Jeremiah it reads, “’The time is coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will make a new covenant… I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, & they will be my people… For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more,’” Jeremiah 31:31-34.
We take part in the remembrance of Christ to celebrate that Jesus overcame death. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks, a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf,” 1 Corinthians 10:15-16.
In remembering Christs' sacrifice for us, we take part in Communion because God gave us the ultimate sacrifice through Jesus and God is allowing us to come into His presence because He is a loving God who cares for us.
On this Memorial Day, please take the time to remember the fallen that have gone on to be with Christ in heaven. Think about how much we are thankful for the many sacrifices that our Armed Forces have made, and reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus as He gave His life, death, and resurrection that we might one day be reunited with the fallen and with our loved ones and friends in heaven. We have so much to be thankful for! We live in a land of freedom and by Jesus's stripes, we are healed and set free! To God be the glory!
Image: Getty Images
In closing, here's a story for you: Years ago, a business executive was driving his new Porsche and had to make a detour through a bad neighborhood. As he zipped speedily down the streets, he saw a brick fly in the air and hit his beautiful Porsche. Slamming on the brakes, he could hear the tires screech as the vehicle came to a halt. Seeing a child waving frantically at him, the executive jumped out ready to yell at the kid.
As he ran over concerned about the damage to his new ride, the young boy through a face full of tears said, "I'm so sorry. Please, I need help!" The executive saw the dire sincerity in the young boy's face and swallowing his pride, he stopped short and asked, "What's wrong, son?" The boy then went on to tell him that he knew throwing the brick at the car was wrong, but his brother who was in a wheelchair fell over and the older boy's weight was too heavy for the younger boy to help him. He had been screaming for neighbors, but no one came, so when he heard the car's engine as it approached, he took a chance and threw the brick just to get the driver's attention. He didn't mean to actually hit the car. The executive, swallowing his pride, asked where the brother was now and the boy pointed to the porch where the wheelchair and the boy were caught in the bushes.
The executive helped the older boy back into his wheelchair and wiped his cuts with his handkerchief. Once he saw that the older boy was okay, he walked that slow walk back to his Porsche. Swallowing the lump in his throat and fighting his own tears, the executive slowly left, and never had the Porsche repaired. He left the dent in his car as a reminder to not go so fast in life again that someone had to throw a brick at him to get his attention.
If you are living without Jesus Christ as your Lord and Personal Savior, don’t live life distracted in the fast lane waiting for someone to throw a brick at you to get your attention. God might be trying in some other way to get your attention but maybe you are too distracted. Please take the time now to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior today...
The Prayer of Salvation
If you haven't said the Prayer of Salvation, now's a perfect time: Father God in the name of Jesus, Lord, I ask forgiveness of my sins. Please come into my heart. I turn my back on sin and I make you my Lord and Savior. I want to follow you for the rest of my life. Please give me eternal life through you in Jesus name, amen.
Rededication to Christ Prayer
If you need to rededicate your life to Christ because you feel like you've been sinning or haven't been living right, pray: Father God in the name of Jesus, I ask forgiveness of my sins and I turn my back on sin. Please help me to overcome ---- and I want to lead a better life through you. I decree and declare this day I have overcome ---- and I have the victory in Jesus name, amen.
Stay in God's shadow, stay away from sin and temptation, keep reading your Bible and keep seeking God first.
We pray this message blesses you today! Pray for our troops and all military personnel today!