Summary: Memorial Day message
May 24, 2009
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT IS FROM ANDY STANLEY’S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
Me: I’ve said a number of times that I’m not real big on speaking from the pulpit about what I call “Hallmark Holidays” that seem to be nothing more than days that card companies and florists can make more money.
Mother’s Day is a great example of that.
You may know that Mother’s Day was started by a young lady named Anna Jarvis as a religious observance to be held in churches, then to be recognized by the US Government.
But after a number of years, Miss Jarvis began to actively oppose Mother’s Day because of the commercialization, including the flowers and cards.
It’s a “Hallmark Holiday,” in my opinion.
Memorial Day, on the other hand, is not.
As most of you know, Memorial Day was first called, “Decoration Day” and was a day of remembrance of those who gave the supreme sacrifice for our country.
Over the last year or two I’ve been convicted that I haven’t spoken enough about the sacrifice that men and women over the ages have made on our behalf.
And it’s been over the last few years that God has been giving me a better appreciation for those who have died in the service of their country.
We: Memorial Day is a fitting time to remember the sacrifice of our servicemen and women. We also remember them on the 4th of July, and on Veteran’s Day in November.
I think it’s fitting that we have multiple observances throughout the year, because it can serve to keep us mindful of the fact that it’s people who in many cases are just like you and me who have gone to the battlefields, the skies, and the seas to gain and protect our freedoms.
So I hope that during these few minutes this morning you will see fit to pray tribute to those who have died for us.
God: You’ve probably noticed by now that your note-taking guide is pretty bare.
Usually I like to give you an outline with blanks and stuff
In the gospel of John, Jesus is talking with His disciples as He’s getting ready to be arrested, tried, and crucified.
During this conversation, He lets the disciples know that He has altered their relationship a bit.
He says that they are no longer His servants, but His friends, if they will obey Him. And just before He says that, He says this in John 15:13 –
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
Now, Jesus is primarily referencing Himself as He prepares to lay down His life for His followers, including you and me.
But I think this verse holds true in broader applications as well.
And I think it holds true as we think about the sacrifice of those patriots who laid down their lives for us.
They laid down their lives for their friends, family, and even complete strangers because they believed that freedom was worth fighting for – and even dying for.
I hope you won’t hold it against me if I tell you that I think this is the greatest country in the world.
It’s full of flaws and I’d love it if we as a nation gave more room for Christ to be mentioned and talked about in our government.
But in spite of its shortcomings, I still think this country is the best around. I’m admittedly a bit prejudiced when I say that, but I’m not afraid to say it.
Part of what makes this country great is the many freedoms we enjoy.
We have freedom of speech. We can say anything we want to regarding opinions about our government without going to jail.
We can protest the policies of our government and even scorn our military. The same military that’s dying to preserve your freedom to protest.
In this country, you can make fun of the government, and instead of going to jail, you get paid by your publisher or TV network.
We get to participate in a democratic republic that allows its citizens to vote at every level of government.
We can travel anywhere in the country without having to have a passport and permission from a local politician.
We have freedom to work in whatever occupation we wish – at least until the boss gets fed up with us…
We can own a business or we can work for someone else, we can own a car, a boat, a house, or multiples of any of these things depending on our income, because we live in a country that doesn’t put caps on what we’re allowed to make.
We can own guns for defense as well as for provision and for sport. And while I know that there are plenty of people who want to take that right away, it’s still there, and I think it would be good for people to remember that the birth of our country is due in large part to private citizens using their own firearms to defeat the tyranny of King George.