Summary: A sermon for Memorial Day
Sermon for 5/29/2005
Memorial Day is an official holiday of the United States. It was observed on May 30 until 1971, when for convenience, the date was changed to the last Monday in May. It is also known as Decoration Day.
The custom of placing flowers on the graves of the war began on May 5, 1866, in Waterloo, NY, and Waterloo has been recognized by Congress as the official birthplace of Memorial Day. In 1868, Gen. John Logan, then president of the Army of the Republic, declared that May 30 would be a day to decorate with “flowers the graves of comrades who died in defense of the country.”
After World War I the day was set aside to honor all American wars, and the custom was extended to pay homage to deceased relatives and friends, both military and civilian. The most solemn ceremony conducted on Memorial Day is the placing of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns located in Arlington national Cemetery.
A. Tomorrow we will celebrate this day. Many people see it as just a day off; 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 out of his patriotic duty to his country and 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. Thank God for those who died to make us free.
A. When we think of those who have given their lives for our country, it fills me with awe and gratitude but also fear. Think about the situations those soldiers and others were going through right before they paid the ultimate sacrifice.
B. This would have been a time of trouble, a time of distress. The Bible makes mention of times of trouble, times of distress.
Thesis: God is our strength, stronghold, and salvation in times of trouble, times of distress.
I. God is our strength
A. Jeremiah prayed to the Lord and said of God, “(Jer 16:19 NIV) O LORD, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress.
B. ILLUSTRATION from “Stories from the Heart”
It was a few weeks before Christmas 1917. The beautiful snowy landscapes of Europe were blackened by war.
The trenches on one side held the Germans and on the other side the trenches were filled with Americans. It was World War I. The exchange of gunshots was intense. Separating them was a very narrow strip of no-man’s-land. A young German soldier attempting to cross that no-man’s-land had been shot and had become entangled in the barbed wire. He cried out in anguish, and then in pain he continued to whimper.
Between the shells all the Americans in that sector could hear him scream. When one American soldier could stand it no longer, he crawled to that German soldier. When the Americans realized what he was doing they stopped firing, but the Germans continued. Then a German officer realized what the young American was doing and he ordered his men to cease firing. Now there was a weird silence across the no-man’s-land. On his stomach, the American made his way to that German soldier and disentangled him. He stood up with the German in his arms, walked straight to the German trenches and placed him in the waiting arms of his comrades. Having done so, he turned and started back to the American trenches.
Suddenly there was a hand on his shoulder that spun him around. There stood a German officer who had won the Iron Cross, the highest German honor for bravery. He jerked it from his own uniform and placed it on the American, who walked back to the American trenches. When he was safely in the trenches, they resumed the insanity of war!
C. (Hab 3:19 NIV) The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.
D. What makes American strong? Is it our natural resources? Is it our economic and business know-how? Is it our government? Is it our military? No, what makes American strong today as in the past is our dependence on God. God is the one who gives strength and God is the one who takes strength away.
E. Jeremiah said in (Lam 1:14 NIV) the Lord has sapped my strength. He has handed me over to those I cannot withstand.