Faith Column: The power of remembering
This weekend’s holiday is not on the calendar to just give an extra day off or to get a good deal on an item, but it is to remember those who have given their lives.
This week many look forward to Memorial Day weekend.
Many are excited that they get to have Monday off of work and have an extended weekend with family and friends. Who doesn’t like a long three-day weekend! Others are excited for the sales that will be happening at many of the stores and businesses for an item that they have been waiting to buy. Maybe that new grill for summer, a new table for the deck or another item that will go on sale this weekend.
However this weekend’s holiday is not on the calendar to just give an extra day off or to get a good deal on an item, but it is to remember those who have given their lives.
In America we observe Memorial Day each year in May. It was originally known as Decoration Day and it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official holiday in 1971.
This weekend many Americans will observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials across the US. Memorial Day is a day to set aside time to remember and honor the lives of those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. We especially remember and honor our U.S. Military men and women who have died while serving our country. I honor the many who have given their lives so you and I can live in freedom today.
Today we live and worship in freedom because of the many that have stood and fought for our freedom. This Sunday many of us will go to church and worship the Lord freely and be able to express our worship to Him. However this freedom to worship and serve God did not come without a cost. It was not free, it did not come easy.
If we don’t stop and remember the cost that was paid for this freedom, we can begin to take it for granted. When we begin to take things for granted we begin to put little value on them.
We must remember those that have fought and worked so hard to give us the spiritual freedom which we have today. When we remember the sacrifice that has been made, the more we value what we have. When we value what we have we will protect it and live more joyfully and will be more thankful for what we have.
We find in scripture that God tells the Israelites to remember what He had done for them. God brought them out of being treated very harshly in Egypt and took them to the land He had promised them. A land that was going to give them a much better life.
It took them a season of 40 years in the wilderness before they got to go into this land. It was not an easy season and time for the Israelites, but in Joshua chapter 4 we read about the time when they finally got to the point of crossing the Jordan river to enter into the promised land God was giving them.
After walking through the parted Jordan waters on dry ground, the Lord told them to make a memorial of 12 stones on the bank of the Jordan River.
Joshua 4:21-22,24 says, “And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? 22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. 24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.”
God wanted the future generations to remember and to know what He had done for the Israelites, that they would always remember what He had done and that He is forever the one and only mighty God.
He was letting them know that there was power in remembering things in the past and not forgetting. He knew that future generations were going to need to remember the past and how they got to where they were. They did not get there by themselves, but it was God that had brought them there!
This week, remember and share with those around you of the past things you have gone through to get where we are today. Take some time and look back at what God has done in your life.
Remember on this upcoming Memorial Day weekend. Let’s remember what the men and women gave their lives for, but most of all remember that none of us got here without the hand of God.
Only by the strength and the hand of the almighty God did we get to where we are at today.
Psalms 77:11 says, “I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.”
Remember today the mighty God, who is our savior and His mighty hand that is always working.
Ryan Enderson is pastor of Abundant Life in Worthington.