A Memorial Day Message

A Moment of Reflection on Memorial Day

As you know, this is Memorial Day weekend. If you look around, it seems as if our neighbors and nation have forgotten the reason for this day. There is a story that after the civil war, a southern mother was tending the grave of an unknown northern soldier. When another mother, angry at the site, asked why,…the mother replied that “somewhere up north, is the grave of my son,…I hope someone loves enough to care for his”.

We as a nation cannot forget the history of service and sacrifice that insured that we have the life we have today. It is that service which makes it possible for the beach trips, barbeques, an lazy days of this weekend. We can not let this day go with out recognition and celebration. We need to tell our kids why there is no school today.

At Asbury Church, we remove the flags from our sanctuary during service on the first Sunday of Lent, and we do so with great pomp and circumstance. As we do, we read Ephesians 2:19 (“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household”), and celebrate the fact that first and foremost, our citizenship resides in God’s Kingdom. Our earthly citizenship will always be secondary.

But “Secondary” does not mean we cast it aside.

It is on Memorial Day, when we return the US Flag to the front of our church, with equal celebration. We do so to remember, and remind ourselves, that we do not live apart from the world. We have a responsibility, as a result of our faith, to be active in insuring that the dream upon which this country was built is fought for. That fight takes the form of wearing the uniform, as well as fighting for the core values of this country at home.

We fight when we serve domestically or overseas.

We fight when we stand alongside someone who is fighting to achieve the dream.

We fight when we teach our kids to serve.

We fight when we teach our kids that sacrifice, in all its many flavors, is what built this country.

Today, we need a reminder. We need the reminder that the church’s role is not to serve as the marketer or the voicebox of our country (Which is so sadly the prevailing view of many churches), but instead to act as its conscience. We are to be people that embrace our status as American citizens by standing up for the dream.

On this Memorial day, we remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and we pray for the men and women who currently stand in the gap for our protection. We also celebrate those who taught each of us, what it means to be a citizen of this country.

Let us remember those who have, in the past or currently, stood up for us, or those beliefs that make us different… and have as a result set the standard for what it means to be an American.

Let us focus on this, this memorial. God Bless America.

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