Tomorrow is Memorial Day
Most of us will be at work, there are a few memorial ceremonies planned.
Put up powerpoint slide.
Several years ago, it became apparent that Memorial day was losing its focus. A National Day of Remembrance was begun at 1500 tomorrow there will be a period of silence in memory of those who have died while defending our country.
The title of the message today is:
1. Tomorrow is Memorial Day and….. We choose to remember
There are many examples of the choice to remember and set into place the tradition of remembering.
28 And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed.
21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?
22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.
6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,
7 There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.
8 But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?
9 For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.
10 When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.
11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.
12 For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.
13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.
In each of these cases, a great deliverance, a great miracle, and a great act of sacrifice set into motion an intentionality to remember.
Tomorrow is memorial day…..and we choose to remember the sacrifices that men and women of this great nation fought and died for.
The rule of law
Freedom to worship as we choose
And now Iraqi Freedom
We choose to remember the sacrifices of individuals who gave everything for the sake of this country.
2. Tomorrow is Memorial Day and……… we choose to give honor
When Paul the Apostle was listing out the responsibilities of Christian believers he said, give honor to whom honor is due.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus was talking to his disciples about the love of God, in so doing He made the statement:
Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.
This phrase alone speaks of the high price that has been paid and is being paid each and every day for the cause of freedom. It’s the ultimate sacrifice, its painful, its permanent, and it changes the lives of entire generations of Americans, its an expensive sacrifice, brought on by the ugliness of war, but it deserves our honor and our respect
As Christian believers it is appropriate and right for us to give honor and thanks for the sacrifices that have been made.
In the Song O Beautiful
O Beautiful for heros proved, in liberating strife
Who more than self, their country loved
And mercy more than life
Worthy of honor,
3. Tomorrow is Memorial Day and…..we choose to Carry On
In Hebrews 11 the writer of the epistle lists a grand roll call of Christian heros who through the eyes of faith, persevered through dangers and trials.
v. Heb 11:32-12:3
32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37 They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated- 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
THEN, he says in the next chapter
12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
(from New International Version)
May I submit to you this morning, that we stand on the shoulders of generations of Americans who saw from a distance the freedoms we now enjoy, faithfully, they answered the call to their nations service, tenaciously they endured the hardship and uncertainty of war, in peacetime and war-time, these Americans pursued their highest and best, rather than their lowest and least.
Tomorrow is Memorial day……and we choose to Carry On.
Carry on, soldier far away from your family
Carry on, soldier weapon in hand
Carry on, soldier flak vest at ready
Carry on soldier, Kevlar and band
With Freedom your ammo
And Justice the sword
With Patience your buddy
And Jesus Your Lord
Tomorrow is Memorial day……and we choose to Carry On.
Abraham Lincoln commenting on the problem of the Civil War after a prayer in a church that the war might end said:
We are indeed going through a great trial--a fiery trial. In the very resonsible position in which I happen to be placed, being a humble instrument in the hands of our Heavenly Father, as I am, and as we all are, to work out His great purposes, I have desired that all my works and acts may be according to His will, and that it maight be so, I have sought His aid--but if after endeavoring to do my best in the light which He affords me, I find my efforts fail, I must believe that for some purpose unknown to me, He wills it otherwise. If I had had my way, this war wouldn never have been commenced; if I had been allowed my way, this war would have been ended before this, but we find it still continues; and we must believe that He permits it for some wise purpose of His own, mysterious and unknown to us; and though with our limited understandings we may not be able to comprehend it, yet we cannot but believe, that He who made the world still governs it.
God does sit high upon His throne, I’m so thankful His hand is watching over us. But I pause at the thought that there is someone here frightened at the thought of Memorial Day. You are fearful of death, you are worried about your future, Jesus said, In this world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
Christ came that we might have life, in this world and the next. If you don’t know Jesus, there is a reason you are in turmoil. You’re afraid of dying, you don’t know what would happen if you died.
Jesus said, behold I stand at the door and knock
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
Today could be your day to have peace, Jesus came to give you peace, you don’t have to fear death.
Jesus promises to give life everlasting. The door is open, won’t you come?
Just as you are, you can come to him today
Os Guinnes, Character Counts, quoted in Pentecostal Evangel, June 27, 1999. p. 10.