A Memorial Day Message…
By: K. Cauley
The last Monday of every May is Memorial Day, a holiday celebrated to honor the soldiers who gave their lives to defend our nation. It is certainly right and proper that we give these brave Americans such an honor as they have made the ultimate sacrifice for us all.
The verse that immediately came to my mind when thinking about Memorial Day was John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this; that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This verse is often quoted on Memorial Day and frequently applied (in most cases, correctly) to the men and women who have died to serve our country. Memorial Day, then, is the day that we remember those who have fallen, whether in battle or in peacetime, who have sacrificed all simply for the sake of their fellow man’s freedom. This day, in our culture, comes around once a year and to most, this day signifies the beginning of the summer season and the associated recreational activities.
What will you do on Memorial Day? Some will have backyard cook outs. Some will go to the lake or beach. Some will go to a park for a picnic. Others will attend a parade or some other Memorial Day celebration. But our eternal destiny does not depend upon us doing any one particular thing on Memorial Day.
There is another Memorial Day, however, that is much more significant than the Memorial Day which we celebrate every year. This memorial day commemorates One who not only gave His life for his friends, but also for His enemies (Romans 5:7, 8). This memorial day is not only a day to remember those who have fallen in battle, but One who was triumphant over death (Colossians 2:15). This memorial day doesn’t begin a single season of the year, but begins every week of the year. This memorial day is observed by those who are faithful Christians upon the first day of the week, every week. What is this day of which I speak? It is Sunday, the first day of the week (Mark 16:2, 9, Acts 20:7), the Lord’s day (Revelation 1:10).
The early Christians gathered upon the first day of the week to remember the Lord by partaking of the Lord’s supper (Acts 20:7). Jesus said in Luke 22:19 “…this do in remembrance of me” and Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:24, 25 reiterated this statement of Jesus in regard to the Lord’s Supper as well. Yes, today is memorial day. When we eat of the bread and drink of the fruit of the vine, we remember the body and blood of Jesus. We remember that He died for us; we remember that He was resurrected to live again (Philippians 3:10); we remember that his physical death gave us spiritual life that we might live in Him each day (1 Thessalonians 5:10). Still many believe that we must make an observance of Memorial Day, but not the full observance by remembering His body and blood in His supper, at His table. We each have a choice this Memorial Day. We can abide by the instructions of the One who established Memorial Day and remember Him as He desires, or we can do whatever we desire whether that is not observing the day at all, or only partly observing it. One thing is certain; our eternal destiny will depend upon how we not only observe this and every Memorial Day, but how we choose to live every day!
A message from Mad Media Group…
This coming Memorial Day,thousands of Americans and churches will join in recognizing the liberties and freedoms we enjoy, and remembering the brave men and women who have given their lives for our country. Memorial Day is focused upon those who have fallen in the service of our country, but at the same time it is an opportunity to focus on Christ. Here are five ways to observe Memorial Day, and bring honor to the King of kings and Lord of lords.
1. Explain the peace that will one day be ours.
Those who have given their life for our country have experienced the tragic bloodshed that conflict brings. Our world is rocked by strife and division. But one day there will be peace. The author of that peace is Jesus himself, who is described in Scripture as the Prince of peace. Memorial Day recognizes the valor of those in military combat, but a day is coming when we will live in a time of unparalleled peace, brought about by King Jesus.
2. Draw attention to the ultimate glory that believers will one day receive.
It is only right that we remember our nation’s military heroes, both past and present. During your Memorial Day observance, it is a wonderful idea to publicly recognize and thank those men and women who are involved in the service of country. Give them honor. In doing so, remind people that one day all believers will receive honor for their service. Although not all of us will enlist in the armed forces of our country, we will nonetheless hear the “well done,” from Jesus. This is another opportunity to glorify Christ during Memorial Day.
3. Explore the parallels between physical military involvement and spiritual combat.
Ephesians 6 reminds us that our ultimate conflict on earth is not between flesh and blood; we engage in spiritual warfare. As we remember this world’s conflict and the bravery of those who have defended our freedom, let us also remember the spiritual battles that every believers must fight. As we engage in spiritual warfare, we have our commander in chief with us. “The armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev 19:14-18). Let us praise this King of kings, in whose army we fight.
4. Show true gratitude.
Memorial Day is at its core about expressing gratitude for those who have fallen in the service of our country. After the death of thousands of soldiers following the Civil War, our country’s leaders instituted this as day to remember, in solemnity and heartfelt gratitude, the ultimate price that was paid. As you commemorate this day, be thankful. Show true gratitude. As believers, true gratitude ultimately directs to God. As you remember those who have fallen, praise Jesus for how he has shown us true love and sacrifice, and taught us what real freedom is.
5. Exalt the one who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
We hold the deepest gratitude for the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who have given their lives over the ages, defending our freedoms and families. As we remember them, let us also remain aware that Jesus, too, gave the ultimate sacrifice. He laid down his life to secure a freedom which transcends any earthly freedom. Jesus gave his life to gain spiritual victory over sin, death, and hell. Memorial Day gives us a chance to praise our Lord for the price he paid, and the triumph he secured.
As you commemorate our fallen heroes this year, take the opportunity to remember the day’s significance while also honoring Christ.