May 24, 2017
Memorial Day in the United States honors the men and women who have died in military service. Earlier, the event was called “Decoration Day” because people placed flowers on gravesites. In national cemeteries, it is typical to see a small American flag at each grave.
Saying goodbye is difficult when death takes a loved one. There is added grief when a person dies during military action as they served to protect our country. Hearing taps played and observing the military part of a veteran’s funeral always brings tears. Standing in a cemetery and realizing the freedom we enjoy is a timely reminder of the price others paid on our behalf.
Events like Memorial Day get a lot of attention. Consider July 4, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas and Easter. I am grateful for these yearly reminders of events and people. But if I show appropriate honor on only one day and give it little or no thought the rest of the year, I have missed the purpose. The special day should remind me to be appreciative every day. It is far too easy to let the emotion of a day fade into the busyness of life.
This is especially true of Christmas and Easter. To honor the birth of Jesus on Christmas or celebrate His resurrection at Easter, and then live in selfish pursuits the remainder of the year, is abuse of those events. The same is true of Memorial Day if we forget its purpose by destroying the freedoms we enjoy.
Jesus left us His reminder of what He has done for us in what we know as Communion or The Lord’s Supper. Most of His followers celebrate the actual symbols periodically; however, their value is in remembrance on a daily basis – even hourly. Memorial events should be a part of our life experience often – perhaps every day of the year. We honor our veterans this weekend when we appreciate them continually.
Pastor Bill Ehmann