Summary: On Memorial Day, we remember the lives and reflect on the sacrifice of loved ones lost in times of war. Let this also be a Memorial Day in which we look to Jesus, reflect on His Sacrifice, and grasp the hope that only comes through Him.
Given by Sterling C. Franklin
@ Glorious King Jesus Christian Church (GKJ:CC)
Memorial Day: Reflecting on the Sacrifice, yet Looking to Hope
- Opening Prayer -
Is anyone here a vet? Please stand. I know it isn’t quite Veteran’s Day, but we would still like to honor you today.
Some facts on Memorial Day (see http://www.usmemorialday.org/backgrnd.html):
- Originally called ’Decoration Day’: Memorial Day was a fixed date given for family and friends to decorate their war heroes’ graves with flowers: May 30.
- This was a holiday first made public by General John A. Logan in May 1868 for victims of the Civil War.
- The first state to recognize the holiday was New York in 1873.
- There was tension in the Southern states since it was seen as more of a holiday of the North, but it became much more popular as it became more of a day to remember any lost loved ones in any war.
- Through the National Holiday Act of 1971, Memorial Day was made the last Monday in May to give workers (even federal) a three-day weekend.
Many people end up casualties in war, and for various reasons. War rarely just takes soldiers. Even so, many brave men (and now women) put their lives on the line to preserve freedom for the people they serve. While people sometimes enter the military for mixed motives -- some need money, some want to develop as men, others would do nothing but sacrifice all for their country -- we look fondly on those who have risked so much to help preserve so much of what we have been blessed with, and I’d say most importantly, freedom to worship Jesus.
With any war, there’s always the debate --
Is this war justified?
What’s the point?
Who decided to go through with this one?
What are the potential costs and benefits?
Who are we really supporting?
Does war ever really end?
To many, Memorial Day is just a holiday, but in so many homes, it is a somber time to remember.
When we think of our loved ones lost this Memorial Day, there are some common things that are done.
We Remember their Lives,
We Reflect on the Sacrifice
For those who died in Christ, We Look to Hope.
I have a friend from High School who died very young as a soldier in Iraq. I haven’t even been to my 10-year reunion yet, so it’s really surreal and saddening in processing all the emotions involved in the loss of someone you know, and even someone you know who was so young.
- Growing up, we’d almost always sit together or within two chairs in homeroom and classes with assigned seating (note our last names). He was always a cheerful yet goofy-humored kid. He did have faithful parents who brought him up knowing the Lord, which was also a huge plus.
- I don’t claim to know him the best. The last I talked with him was the day we graduated high school. It’s interesting how we all go our separate ways. Sometimes, we reunite, and yet sometimes not. Each one of our lives is unique as well as precious, and yet God has given us the blessing of being interwoven with so many to enrich us all.
- L.E. served as soldier in Iraq with the US Army, and in April ’08, at age 25, he was killed in an IED explosion.
- Much of the war on Iraq focused on bringing various freedoms to the Iraqi people. Yet even so, in any case of major revolt, it would also put us at risk. Other nations were not fans of this movement, and yet it was what the president put us through at the time.
In remembering L.E.:
"May God bless, heal, comfort and protect the troops, and the families.
My heart is saddened and immensely grateful."
"I remember L. as the young boy I used to play with at church...I’m so saddened by his loss and yet pround at the same time of the hero he became. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family."
"I’m typing through tears. I will add these names to my personal prayer journal.
My son and his friends are deployed in Afghanistan and though I am a writer... I can’t find words. I offer up prayers from my heart to a mighty Lord."
So you think of this sacrifice of this man who grew up in this very area and was known and loved by many. Many remember his life -- all the good times and memories -- and they also think about the sacrifice he made. Even more, it seemed pretty clear that he knew the Lord.
Ultimately, God knows our destiny. Just as all of us, if L.E. accepted the sacrifice and Resurrection of Jesus Christ for his sins and for his redemption, then he is even with the Lord in spirit today.