Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the LORD your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm.
It is not a day to celebrate—the one they call Memorial Day.
It is a day for remembering.
It is a day for remembering loss.
Picnics and parks do not fit as well into the day as do gravestones and flags.
It is a day for remembering loss.
The young do not understand the day. We must teach them.
Those who have never trained for war, those who have never fought in war, they do not understand war. Do not understand the cost.
Those who have paid the price of freedom must instruct those who have only enjoyed the pleasure of freedom.
Otherwise, freedom may be lost.
Those who have sweated and fought and killed on foreign shores to protect those who lived in comfort with home-cooked meals need not be reminded to remember loss.
They live with those memories.
Many of them wonder why their body does not lie in a grave marked by an American flag on this Memorial Day.
Some feel guilty that it does not.
The Christian warrior understands the reason for being spared. That warrior knows that survival is not due to superior skill or weapons.
Life and death lie in the hands of God Almighty.
It is something to remember on Memorial Day.
Deliverance came from the good God not from good luck.
That is a sobering thought. It is a somber truth.
It is something to remember. It is something to be shared.
Life itself, much less a life lived in freedom, is not our inalienable right.
It is an undeserved gift from the gracious God.
This is something to remember. Something to teach others.
Ancient Israel was to remember to teach this to its children.
The march to the Promised Land took over forty years to complete. People who were children when crossing the Red Sea became the parents or grandparents of those born in the land of Israel.
Those who survived the plagues and the poisonous snakes, they had experienced the discipline of the Lord. Those who stood at the foot of Mount Sinai, they saw his majesty. Those who first ate the manna, who saw enemy attacks fail, they saw him deliver with his mighty hand, his outstretched arm.”
They remembered how the Lord delivered Israel. They were to teach the next generation.
Those who remember how the Lord delivered America are to teach the next generation.
We do remember loss on this day. But mostly, we remember what America has gained and the final deliverance already won.
To God alone the glory!
Prayer: Lord of the nations and God of our salvation, it pains us to think of those who lost lives and loved ones in defense of our nation. Memorial Day reminds us of the cost of our national freedom. But it also underscores that it is your mighty hand that has been the power behind our human efforts. We beg for your continued presence in our midst and thank you for the victory you have already given us over sin, death, and the devil. Amen.
Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
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