Summary: Many churches ignore Memorial Day because it is not one of the holy days on the church calendar. But I believe it is good for us to consider what Memorial Day really represents, for its very name calls us to remember. (Powerpoints Available - #345)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
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(A You-Tube video of someone playing "Taps" was shown just before the sermon.)
ILL. I'm sure most of you recognized the bugle call being played while we were watching that video. It was "Taps." And if you have the TV News on for any length of time tomorrow I am sure you will hear it again & again.
The origin of “Taps" dates back to the Civil War. In 1862, Union Army General Daniel Butterfield & his brigade were camped at Harrison’s Landing in Virginia, following the Seven Days' Battle near Richmond.
At that time the standard method of signaling "lights out" to encamped troops at the end of the day was by a bugle call followed by three loud taps on a drum.
Gen. Butterfield was dissatisfied with that, & thinking that the last sound the men heard at night should be more soothing & melodious, he rewrote the bugle call & eliminated the sound of the drum.
After he had his brigade bugler play it for the men, buglers from other units became interested, & it quickly spread throughout the Union Army. And it even caught on with the Confederates.
Then in July, while they were still camped at Harrison's Landing, a corporal in Capt. John Tidball's Battery A, 2nd Artillery, died of his wounds.
Capt. Tidball wanted to bury him with full military honors, including the traditional firing of 3 rifle volleys over the gravesite. But he was refused permission because it was feared that the Confederates might mistake the rifle volleys as the beginning of an attack by the Union army.
Tidball later wrote, "So the thought suggested itself to me to sound 'Taps' instead, which we did." The idea was taken up by others, until in a short time it was adopted by the entire army. And "Taps" is now looked upon as the most appropriate & touching part of a military funeral.
A. Yes, tomorrow is Memorial Day. But what comes to mind when you think of Memorial Day - beginning of summer vacation, barbecues in the back yard, family get-togethers?
In many churches Memorial Day is ignored because it is not one of the holy days on the church calendar. But I believe that it is good for us to consider what Memorial Day really represents, for its very name calls us to remember.
This special day started near the end of the Civil War. And within a few years the practice of placing flowers on military graves had spread throughout both the north & south & was being called by almost everyone, “Decoration Day.”
Then, after WW1 it became a national holiday dedicated to remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms that we enjoy. And it also became a day to remember loved ones who have gone on before.
B. But people are forgetful, & we often need help to jog our memories. And in the Bible we find that God has given us some reminders, too.
1. After God destroyed the earth in a flood, He told Noah, “I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” (Genesis 9:11)
Then God said, “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, & it will be the sign of the covenant between me & the earth.” (Genesis 9:13) So every time we see a rainbow, it serves as a reminder of God’s promise.
2. Another memorial was erected when Joshua led the people of Israel across the Jordan River into the Promised Land.
The Jordan River stopped flowing just as the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant stepped off the riverbank into the water. Then the priests stood in the middle of the riverbed until everyone had crossed safely.
But while they were crossing, Joshua told 12 men, one from each of the 12 tribes, to go into the riverbed & select 12 large stones. They brought those stones up onto the riverbank & made a monument out of them.
Joshua then said (Joshua 4:6-7), “In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord.
“When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
PROP. There are special days & times in the Bible specifically designed to help us remember. Let me call your attention to 3 of them this morning.