Scripture ~ Psalm 72.
When I was a girl, Memorial Day signaled the start of summer. School would be out soon if it was not already. We would eat more meals of hamburgers and hotdogs from the grill. Long days of sunshine and riding bikes into the evening hours until the mosquitoes literally chased us inside were in my grasp.
Memorial Day took on a new meaning my senior year of high school. My brother, Charlie, enlisted in the United States Army and deployed to Kuwait. There he served as a fueler and he patrolled the oil lines headed into the war zone. I thought of and prayed for him every day he was away. I wanted to eat burgers and hot dogs with him on Memorial Day, not wish he was there…
My appreciation for Memorial Day deepened a great deal when we learned of the death of Andrew’s beloved Josh. I will never forget driving into the National Cemetery in Bushnell and seeing each grave decorated with an American Flag. Josh loved this country. He gave his life for it. Duty. Honor. Brotherhood. Those values were the foundation of his life.
When Andrew and I found out we would be parents – like many – we began discussing names. It was not until the day we learned that we would have a son that I looked at Andrew and said we should name him Joshua. I will never forget the way that Andrew‘s face lit up. I asked him if it would be painful for him to call our son Joshua and Andrew said no because he wants our son to hold dear all of the things that his beloved Josh held dear. And so when we look at our Joshua we remember his namesake. We remember duty, honor, brotherhood and sisterhood. We remember and we give thanks.
As you celebrate Memorial Day this coming week, I invite you to reflect on how the celebration of this holiday has changed for you. How has the meaning of this day deepened? Is there someone that God is calling you to connect with on this day? What values ground your life and how do they give shape to the service that you offer to your neighbors?
Prayer: “Almighty God, before whom stand the living and the dead, we your children, whose mortal life is but a hand’s breadth, give thanks to you:
For all those through whom you have blessed our pilgrimage, whose lives that have empowered us, whose influence is a healing grace, we lift up thankful hearts.
For the dear friends and family members whose faces we see no more, but whose love is with us for ever, we lift up thankful hearts.
For the teachers and companions of our childhood and youth, and for the members of our household of faith who worship you now in heaven, we lift up thankful hearts.
For those who sacrificed themselves, our brothers and sisters who have given their lives for the sake of others, we lift up thankful hearts.
That we may hold them all in continual remembrance, and ever think of them as with you in that city whose gates are not shut by day and where there is no night, we lift up thankful hearts.
That we may now be dedicated to working for a world where labor is rewarded, fear dispelled, and the nations made one, O Lord, save your people and bless your heritage. Day by day we magnify you, and worship your name, for ever and ever. Amen.”*
*”Memorial Day,” The United Methodist Book of Worship 440.
Join us in worship for one service at 11am this Sunday at Tuskawilla UMC. Our choir will lead us through a guided hymn sing celebrating American Hymn Writers.