Hi this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Memorial Day
Memorial Day weekend is once again upon us. This holiday weekend has come to mean so many different things. For some it is considered to be the beginning of the Summer season. Living near the eastern coastline it is definitely the official opening of beach season. If you love the beach this is the start to a great season. It certainly will mark a notable increase in traffic in my area of the country regardless of the cost of gasoline. Soon there will be so many out-of-state cars filled with beachgoers headed east toward the shore on Friday evenings that one might think they are giving gas away somewhere in that direction. For others it is simply the beginning of the warmer days and the opportunity to be outdoors more enjoying gardening, yardwork, and the occasional picnics with family. This Memorial day is the official start to the 2022 season of Bar-B-Que. Hamburgers, and hot dogs will most certainly be the stars of the menu this coming weekend.
Memorial Day is mostly for remembering. It is a day set aside for remembering those who died in wars our country has taken part in. It is a day we remember those who gave all they had for those they might never know. It is a day we remember those who showed the highest form of love. Not only love of country, but also love for their fellow man. Jesus said, “This is my commandment, love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”. Memorial day is the day we celebrate those who were willing to display that kind of love. Though there were several veterans of war in my family I was one of the lucky ones who was able to celebrate Memorial days past with each of them because they had all safely returned home. I have many friends and know of others who were not as fortunate as I. Memorial day is an appropriate time to remember their sacrifices as well. Those families have had to continue, and carry on paying an awful price for our freedoms. Our hearts and prayers should go out to them this weekend. If given the opportunity, make sure to thank a fallen vet’s family this weekend for the freedom you enjoy at their terrible, and personal expense.
Jesus made the above statement about the greatest love in reference to Himself. He spoke those words to His disciples just hours before He would lay down His own life for theirs, for ours. Jesus knew then, that shortly He would be called to die. He understood He would not be experiencing that agonizing death because of anything He had done. Instead He was aware, because it had always been the plan, that He would go to the cross because of the sinful things His disciples had done. The sinful things others had done. The sinful things you and I have done. Romans 3:23 tells us that Everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard, meaning that every one of us has done wrong and there is a cost associated with our sin. Romans 6:23 defines the cost and announces that it has been paid for us. For the wages (or cost) of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. The only thing that can pay the price owed for our wrongdoing is death. Jesus willingly paid that price for us so that we might not die (spiritually) and therefore, be able to live eternally with Him in Heaven.
As Jesus spoke with His disciples the night before He was crucified at their Passover feast He eluded to the fact that He would soon die for them…for all of us…His friends. Luke 22:17-20 tells us that as they shared their last supper together, Jesus told them that He wanted them to continue and meet even after His death and resurrection. He instructed them how to have dinner together as they were that evening in remembrance of Him and what He had done for them to provide reconciliation with God. Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.” He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.
The Apostle Paul also wrote of this to the Corinthian church. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 says, For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again. Every time we celebrate communion it is a Memorial Day. It is a wonderful Memorial Day where we get to celebrate not only the One who fought and died in the war of life and death, the battle between good and evil, sin and righteousness, we are able to give honor to the One who won, rose from the dead and conquered the grave not only for Himself…but for each and every one of us who submit ourselves to Him, call on His name, and pronounce Him to be Lord of our lives!
So, this Memorial Day give thanks for those who died for your physical freedoms. Give thanks for those who personally loved the ones who died, and have continued to pay an awful price of loneliness. Most of all though give thanks for the One who died in your place to offer you spiritual freedom from the weight and price of your own sin. Thank Jesus for reconciling you to God and providing a way so that you will never have to die but instead can enjoy eternal life with Him…and go be awesome because He is so awesome!