Summary: We must take a step of faith when conditions are unfavorable.

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Iliff & Saltillo UM churches

Memorial Day Weekend

May 26, 2002

“Waiting On the Wind”

Eccl. 11:1-6

INTRODUCTION: It was 1866 and the United States was recovering from the long and bloody Civil War between the North and the South. Surviving soldiers came home with many stories to tell.

Henry Welles, a drugstore owner in Waterloo, NY, heard their stories and had an idea. He suggested that all shops in town close for one day to honor the soldiers who were killed in the Civil War and were buried in Waterloo Cemetery. At about the same time, Retired Major General Jonathan Logan planned another ceremony, this time for soldiers who had survived the war. He led the veterans through the town to the cemetery to decorate the graves. It was not a happy celebration but a memorial. The townspeople called it Decoration Day.

In 1882 the name was changed to Memorial Day and soldiers who had died in previous wars were honored as well. In 1971 President Nixon declared Memorial Day a federal holiday to be observed on the last Monday in May. Today, Memorial Day is not limited to honor only those Americans from the Armed Forces but also a day for personal remembrance. Families and individuals honor the memories of their loved ones who have died. Church services, visits to the cemetery, and flowers on graves, mark the day with dignity.

However, this day means more than cookouts, boating, trips to the beach and the beginning of summer activities. It has a deeper meaning. Tomorrow marks the National Observance of Memorial Day. All across America there will be the sound of marching feet, band music, and drums. In cities and small towns people will gather at parks and cemeteries where speeches are given, prayers are prayed, taps are played, and a salute given and guns fired. It is our way of saying “Thank You” to those who died that we might continue to enjoy our freedom.

We pause to look back at the past and remember the world conditions and circumstances surrounding those who lived before us. There were hardships and challenges for them similar in many ways but also very different from what we face today in the 21st century.

We must be people of courage to go on with our lives in spite of a difficult present and an uncertain future. The news media paints a different kind of future than at any time in history. The threat of terrorism has come closer to home. The alerts are color coded depending upon their severity. The “if” of terror has been changed to “when.”

Solomon’s writings in Ecclesiastics 11 gives us some advice on how we can live effectively in such a time as this. In verse 4 he says, “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; Whoever looks at the clouds will not reap” (Eccl. 11:4 NIV).

Many people, knowing the uncertain conditions we now live in are more inclined to put their life on hold until things improve. Many won’t make major decisions until they are sure of what is going to happen. Won’t buy a house right now, won’t go to college, won’t go on vacation because “I don’t know if it would be safe.” There are too many “what ifs...” Are you like this?

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