Summary: This sermon compares Memorial Day with the Lord’s Supper as a Memorial.
Memorial Day: “The Cost of Freedom is Blood”
Memorial day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. It traces its roots back to 1868 when General John Logan, of the Grand Army of the Republic, declared May 30th as a day of remembrance. Flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The day was originally called “Decoration Day.” It is sometimes called “Poppy Day” because artificial red poppies, which were made by disabled veterans, are sold. The money is used to benefit servicemen in need. In December of 2000, Congress passed a resolution which asks all Americans “to voluntarily and informally observe a Moment of Remembrance and respect,” at 3:00 local time.
Tomorrow is the official Memorial Holiday. Many people see it as just a 3-day weekend. But for those who have lost someone because of war or military action, it means much more than a day off. In fact, every American ought to recognize this day in honor of those who spilled their blood to make America what she is today--free, strong, and a nation worth fighting for.
Because men have died for this country, we have the right to preach God’s word freely. We have the right to live at peace in our own homes. We have the right to pursue peace, prosperity and happiness. Memorial Day is a time when we remember a sobering fact: The Cost of Freedom is Blood.
Once a year we observe Memorial Day. But for the Christian, every week is a celebration of the Memorial of Christ. Jesus fought the armies of Hell so that we can be set free. For the Christian, every Sunday is a Memorial Day.
On Memorial Day we (1) Mourn the Loss
When we remember loved ones who have died, we often tend to think of the “If Only’s:” “If only I had told him I loved him.” “If only I had been with her at the end.” “If only I hadn’t spoken so harshly.” We replay our regrets over and over in our minds. But we ultimately know those “If Only’s” would not change a thing.
On the Lord’s Memorial Day, we can’t help but think of a big“If Only.” “If only we had not sinned He would not have had to die.” The truth is, we are to blame. When we come to the Lord’s Memorial, we stand before a mirror and face the truth in Romans 3:23: All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
We realize once again: I am the one to blame. I caused all his suffering. He was humiliated, beaten, spit upon, and treated as a sinner because I am a sinner. And we know that if there only been one sinner who was lost, He still would have died. His love is that great.
Mourning the loss is the first thing we must do as we observe the Memorial of our Lord. At Communion, the first thing we do with the bread is to break it. Whether we break it with our hands or we chew it, we break the bread. This symbolizes the fact that our sin broke the body of Christ.
On Memorial Day we also (2) Remember the Lives
Part of emotional healing in the process of grief is to remember the life of the loved one who has passed. The Headstones we put on graves are a testimony to how we remember these loved ones. Let me share with you some epitaphs I have read on Headstones:
· Gone So Soon
· Beloved Son
· Though we will miss you much, we know you rest with God.
· Safe in the Arms of Jesus
· Gone, but Not Forgotten
All of these messages tell us that these people are dearly remembered. Our Communion Tables are inscribed with these words: Do this in remembrance of me. Every week, we set aside time to remember Jesus.
1 Corinthians 11:24 says When he had given thanks, he broke the bread and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."
What do we remember about Jesus? We remember his life and teachings. But more than that, we remember His sacrificial death.
At the Lord’s Table we do more than walk around a Monument and grieve. We also remember his Victory over Death. We remember His resurrection. We have fellowship with a living Savior as our hearts reach out by faith.
Lastly, on Memorial Day we (3) Give Thanks for the Sacrifice
All the heroic acts on battlefields throughout history have made our country what it is today. We enjoy freedom and wealth that are un-equaled. But our freedom and our luxuries have come at a great price. We enjoy freedom in America because men have died for our country. The cost of freedom is blood.