It’s Memorial Day. That Federal holiday that marks the true beginning of summer across the U.S.: Camping, trips to the lake, cookouts, etc. The end of the school year, graduations, and a three-day weekend to enjoy it all. But while all those things are good reasons to celebrate, they aren’t the intent of Memorial Day.
Called Decoration Day until it’s official inception in 1967, Memorial Day sprang from the blood-soaked battlefields of the Civil War out of a desire to remember the sacrifice made by the 600,000 Americans who died during the War Between the States. By definition, Memorial Day is set apart as a day to commemorate military men and women who have died in service to our nation. By tradition, most people who choose to remember their dead this day don’t limit themselves to veterans.
So it wouldn’t hurt us to remember one more individual who willingly sacrificed his life for us, right? I read the following quote this week, although I’ve been unable to locate its source:
Freedom is not free and sacrifice is meaningless without remembrance.
That statement is not just true in a national military sense, it’s true in a spiritual sense.
The new testament believer is encouraged to remember one specific individual, one specific observance.
The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
1 Cor 11:23-26 (from New International Version)
So this Memorial Day, either before or after you lay those wreaths on the graves of fallen soldiers, take up the bread and the wine of communion, and remember what Jesus did for you on that cross. It’s nothing but GOOD NEWS.