BY REV. TIM NAPPE - HARBOR OF JOY LUTHERAN CHURCH
"He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God." — (Joshua 4:24)
Happy Memorial Day Weekend! By the time that you read this, Memorial Day will be over and you will be enjoying the rest of the summer season. But, I would ask that you take the time to consider the importance of memory, memorials and remembering the significant events of the past.
Memorial Day is a date on the calendar that we set aside to remember the sacrifices of those brave men and women who have fought, suffered and died for the sake of our nation. The day has been expanded in our culture for us to decorate the graves of our loved ones and also remember the contribution that our parents, grandparents and others from our past have made to bringing us to this point in our history.
We remember their sacrifice, their influence, their words and their actions. We remember their legacy of life lessons. We remember the time and energy that they gave to help shape us and set us on the path that has led us into the future.
This act of pausing and remembering is not a new development in the last couple of generations. The verse at the top of the page from Joshua 4 is from thousands of years ago. This chapter records an important event where the children of Israel crossed over the Jordan River, carrying the Ark of the Covenant and entered into the Promised Land. It was the culmination of years of wandering in the wilderness and learning important lessons about faith and obedience.
God instructed Joshua and the people to gather 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan River and carry them across to the other side. Those 12 stones were then gathered into a pile that would become a memorial to the event. It was a monument that was intended to serve as a reminder of God's promises and His faithfulness. It was a reminder to believers of God's commitment, but it also served as a witness to the unbeliever about the power of God.
"He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God."
One of the most important words of the Bible — both Old and New Testament — is the word "remember." We are instructed to remember His commandments, remember the Sabbath Day, remember His blessings, remember His promises, remember the times that we failed and remember His grace and mercy.
At the end of the book of Matthew, Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission and then left us with these closing words, "and remember, I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Remember, you are a child of God! Remember, your Father in Heaven is watching over you! Remember, His steadfast love endures forever! Remember, He loves you!
Remember these things, not only on Memorial Day, but every day.