Tomorrow is Memorial Day; therefore, we will observe this very special day with a message from the Word. I wish to begin by sharing some of the history behind Memorial Day; however, I have encountered two separate versions of the story on how this holiday began, and so, I am going to present both accounts for you this morning. One story reads like this:
In April 1863, in Columbus, Mississippi after decorating the graves of her two sons who served during the Civil War as Confederate soldiers, an elderly woman also decorated two mounds at the corner of the cemetery. An observer asked, “What are you doing? Those are the graves of two Union soldiers.” Her reply, “I know. I also know that somewhere in the North, a mother or a young wife mourns for them as we do for ours.” [This lady and a few others] set in motion what became known as Memorial Day.
The other version of the story reads as follows:
The custom of placing flowers on the graves of the war began on May 5, 1866 in Waterloo, New York, and Waterloo has been recognized by Congress as the official birthplace of Memorial Day. In 1868, General John A. Logan, then president of the Grand Army of the Republic, declared that May 30 would be a day to “decorate with flowers the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion.” After World War I the day was set aside to honor all of the American wars, and the custom was extended to pay homage to deceased relatives and friends, both military and civilian.
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance of lost loved ones. We don’t just remember the day of their death, but we remember the precious lives they lived. We remember both the good and hard times that we shared with them, and we contemplate how they lived their lives and the things they taught us. It is a day when we remember the individuals whose graves we visit.
Memorial Day can be a day when we reflect upon any individual who has had an impact on our lives, and today I want us to reflect upon and remember how both the Lord and His Son, Jesus Christ, have touched our lives. Let us never fail to remember God’s goodness to each of us, for whenever we fail to remember what God has done for us then we fall astray from the path of righteousness.
Account of the Memorial Stones (Joshua 4:1-7)
1 And it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over the Jordan, that the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying: 2 “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from every tribe, 3 and command them, saying, ‘Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight’.”
4 Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe; 5 and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, 6 that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ 7 Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the
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