Today is a national day of remembrance–Memorial Day. In God’s amazing design of the human body, He gave us a memory–the ability to recall things from the past. It is a wonderful gift, but it can also cause heartache because of difficult and hurtful things we remember. God has given us a memory on purpose because there are some things in the past, that were we to forget them, we would be impoverished in the present and the future.
Obviously, on a day like today, we are to remember those who, in all the wars of the history of our nation, have paid the price–the price that freedom costs. How difficult it is for those who receive the phone call or have the knock on the door and hear that their loved one for whom they have been praying is not coming home, but has paid the ultimate price of his or her life in service for our country. It is important for us to remember the loss and the grief that comes when we try to secure freedom, not only here in America, but around the world. When we don’t remember, it’s as if we are taking it for granted and in a sense wasting the sacrifices that so many have paid for our benefit.
The one who wrote the book of Hebrews was exhorting believers who were suffering persecution to remain faithful and not return to their old Judaistic ways. In Heb. 10:32 the author challenged: “But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings.” Our American younger generation, like the Hebrew Christians back in the first generation after Christ, seems in grave danger of forgetting the great sacrifices of those earlier generations in this country who made our nation “the land of the free.” ” What seems like a ‘dumbing down’ of our great Christian heritage has been taking place in our public schools and universities ever since World War II ended. Memorial Day should not be merely an occasion to give people a three-day time of leisure and pleasure, but rather a call to remembrance of those who suffered and died to ensure our political and religious freedoms–especially that freedom to believe and proclaim the saving gospel of Christ, which so motivated our forefathers” (Days of Praise, May 30, 2022).
It is even more important for us to daily remember the unfathomable sacrifice made by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died, not only to give us temporal freedom but eternal freedom, providing everlasting life to all those who believe. Jesus, knowing how important it is for us to continually remember the price paid for our redemption from the penalty of sin, before He left the earth, established the ordinance of “The Lord’s Table,” or “Communion.” At His final celebration of the Passover with the Apostles, Jesus took the bread and the cup and told them that these elements represented His body which would be broken for them and His blood which would be shed for them (and us) and said, “Do this in remembrance of Me…For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (I Cor. 11:23-26). And Christians have been remembering Him in this way ever since He met with His disciples the night before He died for our sins.
But, we need to remember Him every day, not just on the days scheduled for communion, just as we ought to remember and thank God for those who died for our country, and to do so far more often than just once each year.
“Father, we thank you for each and every one of our military personnel who defend our country from those who might take our freedom from us. Today, we thank you especially for those who have fought and died on foreign shores…for those whose graves we mark and honor, and for those whose fate is known only to You. We thank you for those who have been wounded in battle…may we never forget their service and care for them as they deserve. Father, we ask you to watch over those men and women stationed abroad today, and be there with their families when they cannot be there. Bless, preserve, protect and defend them, and bring them safely home. In Jesus name, Amen” (Virginia Saunders “Memorial Day Prayer”)