Memorial Day Weekend
DO WE REMEMBER?
A couple of notes before we begin. At the close of the message, we will play a song by the group, Mercy Me, entitled “Say I Won’t.” For those of you watching on Facebook I simply googled Mercy Me and found the version of “Say I Won’t” by Mercy Me (authorized).
This version has been viewed over 3 million times! Next, I must admit I lied. Last week I said we would spend the next few weeks continuing in Acts. We will skip this week to look at the reasons and purposes for celebrating Memorial Day. So let us get started!
Before we look at the verses, we read this morning, let us look at why we celebrate Memorial Day in America. Not everyone agrees with how and when it got started but most agree it began after the Civil War. When I looked it up the remembrance that is most like what many in America do today started in 1868. General John A. Logan encouraged loved ones as well as others to put flowers on the graves of the soldiers who lost their lives during the Civil War. Actually, General Logan called it “Decoration Day”, which many of you here this morning may remember that is what people called Memorial Day in the past. Over the years this day has taken on more meaning than originally intended. Many take time to remember family members and friends who have passed away, as well as others who have special meaning.
In scripture we are told time after time that it is important to remember special things and events that have happened. In Genesis 9 we are told the rainbow God often puts in the sky after a rain is to remind God that he will never again destroy the world with a flood. God’s people are to be reminded God has made us that promise so we can enjoy the beauty of the rainbow with confidence.
In Exodus 12 and 13 the Jewish people began a new celebration by remembering the Passover when the angel of death passed over the houses marked on their door posts with blood from a lamb while they were slaves in Egypt.
We remember both the Passover and the Lord’s death and resurrection when we take part in the Love Feast and communion as we read in I Corinthians 11. Theses are just a few of the examples we are given in scripture of how important it is for us to remember important events in our lives. The remembrance that this nation does on Memorial weekend though clearly has its roots in remembering those who have been willing to serve this nation primarily in the military.
Most of you know the Church of the Brethren is a denomination that is committed to non-violent ways to resolve problems, whether it is between individuals or between nations. Our denomination is one this nation has historically recognized as being able to accept alternate service to being in the Armed Services. I respect those who over the years have made that choice. I also respect those who answered the call to serve in the military as well. I do not know how many of you here in the sanctuary or watching on Facebook served in the military. I know Madison is currently beginning her service. To all of you I say, “Thank you!”
In Romans 5:7 and 8 it tells us the real story of how difficult it is to be willing to sacrifice everything for someone else. Beginning with the 7th verse we read, “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
I believe very few enter the military hoping for the chance to shoot at someone, let alone kill someone. But those who serve do it for loved ones, a way of life, for family, country and yet out of a love to God and how he has blessed us as a nation. Not everyone will agree with what this country has done over the years but we are blessed to live in a nation where we have been able to agree to disagree. This has been made possible by two things, I believe: God’s hand upon this Nation and men and women who have been willing to answer the call to serve.
As we close out this part of the service, I want to once again say thank you to those who have served this Nation. To those who served in the military, “Thank you.” Those who have served as police, “Thank you.” Those who have served as firefighters, “Thank you”. For those who have served in any way in health care, “Thank you.” Those who have served as teachers, “Thank you.” Those who are often left out, people who help keep this Nation going, “Thank you.”
We also remember moms and dads, aunts and uncles, husbands and wives as well as our children who God has blessed us with who may have already gone on to be with the Lord. We all need each other. God knows that and that is why he points out how important it is to remember events and people that have made life what it is. May we never forget the God who loved us enough to pay the price for our sin on the cross. We have much to be thankful for and much we should never forget.
At this time, we are going to play the song by Mercy Me called “Say I Won’t”. This was a favorite song of mine before I saw the music video that Mercy Me created to tell the story of Gary Miracle as well as the story of others. As I watched it, tears overtook me. I thought as I watched this video of how many who came back from Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, World War II whose lives were changed forever by the injuries they received. This video, as you will see, is not about that but it shows how lives are changed sometimes overnight by war, disease, injury, abuse, you name it. I am also reminded of a God who knows everything that happens to us, our loved ones, even our Nation. The title of the song may seem confusing so watch both the video and try to read the words so you get the meaning God is using this video for.
(After the video)
I felt like making a sign that says, “Say I won’t fail to remember.” I pray I will never forget those who gave so much to this Nation. Thank you to everyone here who has served this Nation and its people in a variety of ways. Thank you, God, for never giving up on me. On this Memorial weekend a special thanks to those past and present who have been willing to put it all on the line—military, police, fire and more. May I never forget the sacrifice of so many that allow us the freedom we have in this nation. May we also never forget it is God’s love and mercy that makes it all possible as well. The fighting spirit of Gary Miracle and so many others is why I pray I will never forget. The example of so many past and present that gives me hope. May we never forget what our God has done for us and may we never forget our loved ones that changed our lives, but most importantly on this Memorial weekend I say thank you for your sacrifice to all who have served this Nation in all the branches of the Armed Forces. Say I won’t ever forget!
Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday
June 6 Last day to order strawberry pies
June 9 7:00 Executive Committee
June 12 9:00 a.m. Stem strawberries—We need volunteers.
June 13 Pies to be made before worship and distributed from 11:30 – 12:30 (or after worship for people who are here)
June 13 Terry Link is preaching
Camp Emmanuel schedules and registration forms are available in the back of the sanctuary.
Donation Box: VBS
First Sundays: food donations for food banks
Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362
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Keep in Your Prayers
Sarah Rudelick; Sydney (Nancey Gorrell’s niece); David Roe; Tera Runyan; Holly Flenner; Mike Gentry; Tim Laird; Carl and Wilma Cable; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Sherry Wright; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Evelyn Eads; Anna Gentry Thompson; Marlene & Arnold Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola Copeland; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 590,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of natural disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; victims of the volcano in Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda
Military and Other Services and their families
Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers
Our Mission Statement:
Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.