Summary: This is a topical sermon for Memorial Day. It is alliterated. PowerPoint is available too, just e-mail me.
If this sermon is helpful to you look for my latest book, “The Greatest Commands: Learning To Love Like Jesus.” Each chapter is sermon length, alliterated, and focuses on the life and love of Jesus. You can find it here:
Scott Bayles, pastor
First Christian Church, Rosiclare, IL
Well tomorrow is Memorial Day, as I’m sure you all know. To some, Memorial Day is just another holiday, just another day off from work, or just another day that we can go to the lake or have an outdoor barbeque. But to those who have lost someone they love because of war or military action, it’s more than that. It’s Memorial Day—a day set aside to remember those who gave their lives for the freedom we as Americans all share.
No one is really sure when or where Memorial Day had its beginning. In fact, there are more that two dozen cities and towns that claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. What we do know is that it started with the tradition of decorating the graves of soldiers following the Civil War. It was officially recognized by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, and formally observed when flowers were placed on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers in Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868. After World War I, the observance expanded to include not only those who died in the Civil War but those who gave their lives fighting in any war. Tomorrow, all across America people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds and faiths will join together to remember the sacrifice that our service men and women have made in wars past and present so that we can enjoy our freedom—those brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice so that you and I could be here today.
You know, the Bible is full of memorials. The words remember, remembrance, and memorial are found more than 230 times within the leather-bound pages of your Bible. God reminded his children in the Old Testament to remember that they were once salves in Egypt. He commanded them to observe the Passover, as well as other holidays, as a “day of remembrance.” In the New Testament Jesus said that every time we approach the His Table we are to do it in remembrance of Him.
This and every Memorial Day is important to us as Americans and as Christians. It’s important for three reasons. First, Memorial Day is a day for remembering.
As Americans, Memorial Day is an opportunity to remember those brave soldiers who sacrifices their lives defending our country. Jesus once said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13 NLT). Our service men and women have been willing to do that very thing since the founding of our nation. In the Civil War, 498,000 Northern soldiers were killed, and 133,000 soldiers from the South died. In World War One, 116,000 American soldiers died. In World War Two, 407,000 American soldiers died. 54,000 American soldiers died in Korea, 58,000 died in Vietnam, and 148 died during Desert Storm. As of May 21, 2009 there were 4,299 American Soldiers that have died in Iraq. Of course there were other conflicts and causalities as well. More than a million Americans have died in wars around the world fighting for the freedom that we enjoy in this country.