Sunday, May 18, 2008

Memorial Day Dilemma

This Sunday ends with a great anticipation for next Sunday. This morning, Pastor Terry asked me if I would be available to preach next Sunday morning. I think that Chris will probably go to her folks house and it was my intention to go with her on her next trip. However, it is such a great privilege to get to preach at my home church that I really hate to turn down any opportunity. Should Chris decide to go, she'll either take one of the kids or make the trip herself. (Sorry, Mike)

This is my Memorial Day Dilemma:

I know that the holiday weekend is about remembering the great sacrifice that so many of our service men and women have made. I truly want to honor their memory. However, I am not much of a God and Country kind of preacher. Somehow we (the Church) have the idea that the country we live in is a Christian country and that God blesses us because of our country's faith. Nothing could be further from the truth. I'll give you that many of our founding fathers and signers of the Declaration of Independence were active members in Christian churches. I give you that much of our heritage and history recognizes a Supreme Being or a Creator. I understand that their beliefs shaped the morals and principles that our country was built upon.

BUT I also recognize that they wanted a country that would provide a free place to worship (or not to worship) without any governmental coercion. Am I thankful to God for the country that I live in and the freedoms that I enjoy? You'd better believe it! Am I thankful for those that have sacrificed greatly so that I can enjoy those freedoms? Absolutely! Do I think that honoring the memories of the fallen soldiers belongs in our weekly worship of our God and Savior? I'm sorry but the answer is no.

I don't even believe that you can make a connection between the sacrifice for freedom made by men and women and the sacrifice that Jesus made by giving His life for our Eternal Freedom.

I think that what we (the Church) should do is to Worship God on Sunday and remember our service men and women on Monday--Memorial Day. Sadly, most of America will do neither. The long weekend will just be another excuse for picnics, parties and barbecues and will have nothing to do with God or country.

Sometime this week, if you have a regular prayer time, think of me and ask for God's guidance as I prepare for the coming weekend. A retired pastor tell me to pray for him. And then add that he needed the prayers and I needed the practice! I know that now I need the prayers. Do you need the practice?


A small boy stood in the foyer of the church looking up at a huge plaque the hung on the wall.
The pastor saw him and asked, "What are you looking at, Jimmy?"
Jimmy asked, "Who are all of these people that have their names on this plaque?"
"Jimmy," the pastor replied, "These are all of our members that have died in the Service."
After a moment of silence Jimmy turned to the pastor and asked with great concern, "The early service or the late service?"


Mike said...

Great post. Great joke.

Ted will miss you.

Bilbo said...

John, I appreciate your dilemma, but I respectfully disagree with you. If you are grateful for what God has given you (a country in which you can practice your faith as you choose...unlike, say, Saudi Arabia), I don't think it's off the mark to thank God for the vehicle he chose to use to give it to you (i.e., the sacrifices of those honored on Memorial Day). It's like the old joke about the man sitting on his roof during a flood who prayed to God to rescue him...a helicopter swooped down and dropped a ladder, but he refused, saying God would save him; then a rubber raft came by manned by National Guard troops, but he refused to go, saying God would save him; finally, he died of exposure. Later, presenting himself for judgment, he asked God why He hadn't saved him...and God replied, "I sent a helicopter and a boat...what more did you want?" I don't think it's out of place to thank God by remembering the tools He uses to work his will. Good luck with the sermon...I'll be interested in hearing how it comes out.

ssgreylord said...

Loved the joke at the end of your post. I can imagine his face as he says this. Thanks for the comment on my site. I love the comparison. I will drink slowly and soon be hydrated... You'll love my next post. I guarantee it.