Summary: This is a Memorial Day Sermon preached in our Church in a special observance for remembering those of our Church Family The Lord had recently called Home to be with Him.
WE REMEMBER THE LORD OUR GOD
“Some put their trust in chariots and some in horses,
But we will call only on the name of the Lord our God.”
[Translation: “The Psalter,” COMMON WORSHIP: SERVICES AND PRAYERS FOR THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND, The Archbishops’ Council, 2000.]
If I could begin my ministry once more, there is only one major change I would make. I wish I could have made a career in the military chaplaincy. As far as I know, only one of my family, a cousin, served in the Armed Forces. Although the traditions of Memorial Day essentially honor the memory of those who have given their lives in defending our country, it has become a day to honor the memory of all our departed loved ones. I hold two memories from my youth connected with Memorial Day. Every year we would go to the cemeteries to decorate the graves of my grandparents, and every year our band would play at the Service conducted by the American Legion and the VFW.
Do you realize Memorial Day had its beginnings in Illinois? Carbondale’s Woodlawn Cemetery is included in the National Register of Historic Places. It is the final resting place of 330 persons including freed slaves and sixty veterans from the Civil War (http://www.dailyegyptian.com/fall00/10-10-00/ourword.html). On April 29, 1866, General John A. Logan, Commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, conducted the first Memorial Day Service in Illinois, and perhaps the first one in the entire United States, at Woodlawn Cemetery. He then was led to issue his General order Number 11 which declared:
The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of
strewing with flowers, or other decorating the graves of
comrades who died in defense of their country during the
late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every
city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.
Today we lovingly remember not only those who have given their lives for our Country in Iraq and Afghanistan but our loved ones Jesus has recently called Home to be with Him, and as Lincoln said at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863, “It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this” [--http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/speeches/gettysburg.htm].
The text the Lord gave me for today’s message is Psalm 20:7. Most modern translations render it:
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
But we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
The King James and the New King James Versions appear to be more accurate in their interpretation:
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
The English word “remember” in line two is a more accurate synonym for the original
Hebrew term. Psalm 20 and 21 might be described as twin Psalms. In Israel they
were acts of worship used by the Army before and after battle. Before engaging in
battle, the King would gather his forces at the Tabernacle or the Temple and Psalm
20 would be their prayer. After the battle was over Psalm 21 would be their Psalm of