Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to summer. The grill will be pulled out of the garage, the boat will be gassed up, and the ice cream makers will start churning.
Of course, there is a deeper meaning to this weekend. It is one that we would do well to remember.
Memorial Day has its roots in the commemoration of Union Soldiers who gave their lives in the Civil War. It has since expanded to a day of tribute to the dead soldiers of all the nation’s wars. It is a holiday of remembrance.
The remembrance that is being asked of us is more than nostalgic reflection on former days. It is an active remembering of making present the memory of the past.
Active remembering of the sacrifices made gives us hope for a better tomorrow. We remember the sacrifices in order that we may be hopeful for tomorrow.
It is a remembrance that has us praying toward a future where “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore“ (Isaiah 2:4).
A world where “swords are turned into plowshares” (Isaiah 2:4).
It is this type of remembering that evokes the imagination to consider a future with no more war.
This weekend, we remember. We express gratitude. And we pray.
Almighty God and most merciful Father, as we remember with gratitude the courage and strength of the fallen soldiers. We hold before you those who mourn them.
Help us to remember the sacrifices bravely made.
Help us to remember those that stand in the breach where conflict threatens freedom and liberty of all people.
Help us to remember that we look for the day when every sword will be replaced by a plow and all live in your peace.
Forgive us every sin that makes for division and for war, and bring us all into your kingdom on earth as in heaven.
In the name of Jesus we pray Amen.