Summary: A Memorial Day Message about our need to always remember, especially God's sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, to secure our freedom.
Memorial Day Message
“Our Need to Remember”
Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering and giving honor to the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces.
The holiday is observed every year on the last Monday of May. While the commemoration began after the Civil War as the graves of soldiers were decorated with flowers along with prayers being recited, it wasn’t until 1967 that the day was officially known as Memorial Day, and in 1968 the traditional day of May 30th changed to the last Monday in May.
Further, it is during this time that we see the American Legion selling silk poppies outside many of our stores. In 1920 the American Legion adopted the silk poppy as their official symbol of remembrance. This was inspired by the poem, “Flanders Fields,” and it’s opening lines referring to the fields of poppies that grew among the soldier’s graves outside Flanders, Belgium, where rests 368 American soldiers who died liberating Belgium in World War I.
Also, on Memorial Day the American flag is lowered to half-mast in this special ceremony to remember the over one million men and women who gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy.
And so, Memorial Day isn’t the official start of summer, nor is it about a weekend where we get three days off. It is about remembering those who died for our freedom and the victories they won.
Today, I’d like to take a look at the memorials we build in our lives as believers, memorials of the victory that was won for us, and the One who gave His life for our freedom, a real freedom, a freedom that can never be taken away, and that is freedom over sin and death.
And the question becomes, “Where do we go from here?” “What’s next?” Also, for those men and women who recently returned from the Women and Men’s retreats, “How do we maintain our intensity and our purpose?”
The problem is that far too many of the defeats we experience occur immediately following great victories when God has done so many great things, especially the greatest victory of them all when we came to faith in Jesus Christ.
How can these possibly be prevented?
The answer lies in our need to set up a memorial. The story is found in the book of Joshua, the fourth chapter where twelve stones were carried over the Jordan River and a memorial was built to remember what God had done for them in bringing them into the Promised Land.
“That all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” (Joshua 4:24 NKJV)
While I’m not a big fan of physical representations, there’s something that speaks to me when the children of Israel set up a memorial to remember the miracle God gave in stopping the waters of the river Jordan allowing them to cross over to the Promise Land.
A memorial is an object that serves to focus a memory of something that has occurred, whether it has been a person who has died, or an event. The most common memorials are landmarks or art, such as sculptures, statues, or fountains. People have placed memorial plaques on park benches or at the site where the event occurred.
This is done to let others know about what happened, or the person being commemorated. Its purpose is to give testimony.
In Washington D.C., there are many such memorial.
• Washington Memorial, honoring our first president, George Washington, and reminding us of the struggle our country went through to gain its independence.
• Lincoln Memorial, honoring Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth president, and reminding us of the terrible slave trade going on in our country and the horrific war that divided our country known as the Civil War.
• Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall with the names of 58,318 who died or are missing in action from 1955 to 1975.
Now, I don’t believe God is calling us to build such structures when it comes to our faith, nor to be like the children of Israel to stack stones as an altar, although many have and there’s nothing wrong in doing so. What is important, however, is that we remember and not forget what God has done in our lives.
“Remember” is a powerful word. As believers in Jesus Christ we’re told to remember the Lord and what He’s done for us.
“I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old.” (Psalm 77:11)
We also use the word “remember” when we ask God to remember His promises and help us in our time of need.