Remembering Patriots & Others
A bit of History about Memorial Day:
On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.
On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Civil War soldiers buried there.
Many Northern states held similar commemorative events and reprised the tradition in subsequent years; by 1890 each one had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Southern states, on the other hand, continued to honor the dead on separate days until after World War I.
In 1971 it was changed to Memorial Day. I am not sure when it was changed to national BBQ day.
A few years ago my best friend from high school and her parents bought a few hundred American flags on sticks. The Saturday before Memorial Day they went to a local cemetery and walked the grounds looking for military men and women buried there. They asked me to join them one of the following years. Each year they would buy another couple hundred flags. Their goal was to cover the entire hillside with flags honoring those who served our country. I think they still take the walk every year, though I have moved away and do not join them.
Imagine Jesus walking the cemetery with my friends and I. He knew the names of all who served. He knew their stories from beginning till end. While we only saw their names and dates of existence he knew them, many of them personally. He knew which ones were going to be raised to new life and which ones would not spend eternity with him.
Imagine Jesus weeping for the loss of the eternal soul like we weep for the loss of the temporary body. We should adopt his perspective and be seeking them while they can still be told of a wonderful savior who died so they could someday be resurrected to a new incorruptible body and live forever in the presence of a living, loving and wonderful God.
I have a friend with this perspective. Her love for Jesus and others puts me to shame. She is an example to me of how to love those who don't know Jesus. Her heart breaks for those who are without God in this world. Lately, this same heartache has caught me off guard. I stopped at a traffic light and a homeless woman in a wheelchair was there. I rolled down my window and shared what little I had with her. She thanked me and we talked while I waited for the light to change. She had a fall and ripped open her leg and was waiting for the stitches to be removed. I asked her if I could pray for her. She looked like she could cry. I grabbed her hand and said a real fast prayer. I'm not saying this to brag about my actions. I'm saying this because we need to have this heart for those in need, because their need goes farther than money. It is a need to be loved. If praying for her gets her to reach out to Jesus, then I will stop and pray for her all day long. Wouldn't you? I Imagine Jesus would.
Remembering those who sacrificed for the country is patriotic. Let's not forget the one who sacrificed so all could come to God in faith. Honor his sacrifice by sharing him with others.
1Corinthians 11:23-26 "For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,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.”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.”For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes."
1Thessalonians 4:13 "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first."
Revelation 20:6 "Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years."