Summary: 150 years Memorial Day was initiated after the Civil War. But Americans have difficulty remembering when this special day began and why its important to our nation. But 3400 years ago, God initiated His own "Memorial Day". Do you know when & why it began?
I’ve read that Memorial Day was originally begun by former slaves on May, 1, 1865. The ceremony was held in Charleston, SC to honor 257 dead Union Soldiers who had been buried in a mass grave in a Confederate prison camp. The former slaves dug up the bodies and worked for 2 weeks to give them a proper burial.
Then they held a parade of 10,000 people led by 2,800 black children who marched through the streets celebrating the sacrifice of these men.
Now, the first “official” Memorial Day was celebrated a few years later. I’m told that a group of women asked the War Department for permission to put flowers on the graves of soldiers buried at Arlington Cemetery.Permission was finally granted to do so, but a stern order was attached to the permission: No flowers were to be placed on the graves of the Confederate soldiers.
The confederates were buried in a segregated section of the cemetery.
The ladies carried out their task and carefully followed their instructions. A crowd gathered for the commemoration at which General Grant gave a speech.
But shortly after the ceremony concluded, they say a strong gust of wind blew through the cemetery… and the wind blew almost all the flowers into the Confederate section.
After that the separation was never repeated. Many believed that the wind had sent by the hand of God. (Bruce Howell, Sermoncentral.com)
Now, how many of you knew that about Memorial Day?
How many of you knew that Memorial Day began as a way of honoring the dead from the Civil War?
Me neither! If it hadn’t been in my files, I wouldn’t have realized that.
And that was a mere 150 years ago.
And yet, even though that event took place a mere 150 years ago, not only do many folks not know that Memorial Day was begun after the Civil War, but there are many who don’t know that Memorial Day has since been set aside to honor the dead of all American wars since that date.
It’s like most of the nation has forgotten WHY Memorial Day was established.
One person on Facebook quipped that many think this is national Barbecue Day!
But now -here in Exodus 12 - we read about another Memorial Day.
A day that God called Passover.
And that first Passover took place over 3400 years ago.
That’s a really long time.
And yet, to this day, the majority of Jews and Christians know WHEN the 1st Passover began… and why it began.
For those of you may NOT know the background of that 1st Passover, let me review:
About 430 years before this, Jacob (who God had renamed Israel) moved down to Egypt with his 12 sons and their families. They did so at the invitation of the Pharaoh of the day. And over the years they grew into a mighty nation of over a million people.
But thena Pharaoh came to power who didn’t know Israel and his sons.
And this Pharaoh feared that such a large body of foreigners might pose a threat to his nation and to his own personal power and so he sought to control them by having them enslaved. And then decided to exercise a little population control by having their male babies put to death.
In time, Israel cried out for God to save them.And God answered their cries by sending them Moses to lead them out of their slavery.
Part of Moses’ job was to convince Pharaoh to release Israel from their slavery, but Pharaoh wasn’t in a reasonable mood... so God sent 10 plagues upon Egypt to persuade Pharaoh to let them go.
The 10th plague was explained by Moses to Pharaoh in this way:
“This is what the LORD says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt.Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt — worse than there has ever been or ever will be again…’” Exodus 11:4-6
Every first born male in the land of Egypt was going to die on Passover.
Every 1st born EXCEPT in the homes where the blood of the Passover lamb was displayed.
Moses instructed the Elders in Israel: “Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood (of the Passover Lamb) in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the door-frame…
When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the door-frame and will PASS OVER that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.” Exodus 12:21-23