A common theme we see throughout scripture is the instruction to remember. Often when God worked in mighty ways in the Old Testament, His people were instructed to build a monument in memory of God’s work.
“He said to the Israelites, ’In the future when your descendants ask their parents, “What do these stones mean?” tell them, “Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.”’” (Joshua 4:21-22)
We also see this in Deuteronomy 6:20 and Exodus 12:26.
Why is it so important to remember what God has done? Because there are other times in the history of God’s people when they did not remember.
“After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals.” (Judges 2:10-11)
When Jesus began his journey to the cross, He gave instruction to his disciples: “do this in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:24b) We practice this remembering through the sacrament of Communion.
The lesson of scripture and history are the same. Those who remember the past are better off than those who forget. We’ve adopted this same approach in the history of this country. After the tragedy of 9/11 we proclaimed: never forget. In the wake of great battles and wars we establish memorials. On this day – Memorial Day – we remember those who have literally given their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today.
Remember. We know the consequences of forgetting. And it is the duty of present and future generations to help preserve the past.
But beyond remembering, let us honor. Let us live into the legacy of the past by living well in the present and planning for the future.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out of us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2a)
Happy Memorial Day, church family. Let us never forget those who have endured before us and may we honor their memory and legacy by living well today and moving forward!
‘til the storm passes by,