This Memorial Day is a day of names. Some are remembered, others forgotten. Some are heroes, others merely victims. Some are of exemplary character, others troubled souls. Regardless, these names all have one thing in common. Every single name is an individual who served in our nation’s military and made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of the United States of America. We can pray that one day war will be no more. But we will always lift up and give thanks to God for those known and unknown names who were willing to lay down their lives so we can live ours.
Today we remember.
We remember Your love in Jesus Christ who came to reconcile the world to You.
We remember Your forgiveness when we fail, turn from You or act in self-centered ways.
We remember the hope You give when there seems no way forward.
We remember Whose we are when we wonder whether we matter to anyone.
We remember that nothing in life or death can separate us from Your love in Jesus Christ.
Yes, today we remember. Not simply to be thankful for what You have done in the past. But to claim it for the future.
The “unofficial official” beginning of summer. Remembering those who gave their lives serving in order to keep us free. Rainy day – gloomy weather. Reading. Taking a nap. Facetime with family. Sitting on the back porch. Smoking a brisket. Reading scripture. Working on some projects. Prayer. Worrying about those who are struggling the most. This is what my holiday weekend is like. Probably yours, as well. And the amazing thing is that every bit of it is occurring in the midst of Covid-19. That’s because life goes on, even in crises. As does God’s love in Jesus Christ. And it’s this amazing grace that holds it all together. Thank you, God!
There’s a lot of bad news these days. But if you take the time to look, you will see multiple signs of everyday hope. Churches that move their feeding ministries outside so they can keep serving those in need. People confronting those who refuse to wear PPE masks. Congregations that embrace technology to keep in touch with members and engage new people with the Gospel. Medical personnel who risk their lives on the front lines to care for those who are hurting, those who keep the supply chain working and grocery store employees who work long hours so people have food. Parents who work, homeschool and keep their kids healthy. Yes, you can see lots of signs of everyday hope all around you. And if you look closely enough, you’ll also see God in every single one of them.
It’s a brand new day. But you’re still the same old you. What is more, you bring all the pain and uncertainty of the Covid experience with you. Try as you might, you often get so weary carrying this past that you don’t make it very far on the journey to your new future. That’s because the past can be like cat hair. It sticks to you, and you just can’t shake it off. But God can through God’s healing love. Sure, you’ll have to deal with memories and, perhaps, consequences of the past. But when God says it’s over, it’s really over. So if you’re ready to experience what God can do today – even in the midst of Covid-19 – all you have to do is stick yourself to God who will unstick you from your past.
There are times in life when you have to deal with something that suddenly appears and quickly becomes all-consuming. Like Covid-19. Most of the time, however, you habitually deal with issues that seem to plague you for a lifetime. Like how you feel about yourself. It’s hard to deal with a crisis. It may be even harder to deal with a chronic reality. And so you turn to God. But have you ever noticed how you often experience God’s presence more in a crisis than you do struggling with issues you just can’t seem to fix? It’s probably because you are more open to God in the intensity of a crisis than you are dealing with something for a lifetime when you’ve decided you simply can’t change. But you’re not alone. And you never will be. Jesus came to bring abundant life – especially for those things that seem bigger than you.