Yesterday, I shared an epiphany that occurred while standing before the traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It was a scene that opened my eyes to see each name and wrap my heart around each life that was given. However, there was an aspect of the story that I did not tell you, a part of my contemplations that I did not share.
This iconic image from World War II has come to represent the tenacity and loyalty of America and her comrades-in-arms. But it is also a representation of sacrifice.
Today, as we reflect on the victories that have made America the world power she is today, we must also remember the millions of lives sacrificed in the process. This is what Memorial Day is all about: remembering those fallen in combat.
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
~II Chronicles 7:14
We see this verse a lot. But what exactly are we asking when we quote this promise? Are we asking for a return to America’s former prosperity and season of blessing? When we think and pray this passage are we focused on the “then I will forgive their sin and heal their land” part of the equation? What are our motives? Do we just want the material, social, and political success of former eras? Or are we truly desiring the humbling of God’s people, repentance, and seeking of God?
A stone rolled away…an empty tomb...abandoned burial rags…a missing body…
These timeless reminders of Resurrection Sunday and the events that took place often lose their luster and become ordinary, expected, and predictable, especially if you’re like me and grew up in a Christian home. We become so familiar with these icons of Christianity that they lose their wonder, awe, and splendor in our eyes. But this should not be! We should never grow weary and calloused to the glory, awe, and miracle of the empty tomb, but must remind ourselves of what really took place and become re-amazed by the wonder of it all.
Two pieces of wood, one planted vertically and the other attached horizontally two-thirds up the first. Once a symbol of Roman cruelty and torture, now an emblem of divine love, the simple image of the cross holds much meaning and significance. Especially today, as we remember and hold sacred the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood poured out for us.
Sweet baby Jesus! You left your heavenly dwelling of glory to be born among the lowly and despised of the earth, in a cattle stall among people who had no room for You. From a throne of splendor to a straw filled manger, You humbled Yourself and be came like one of us in our very weakest and vulnerable state. You came as a newborn baby, fully reliant upon an imperfect, inexperienced mother and father. And while shepherds paid their respects, and wise men came to worship, the very people You came to save largely rejected and ignored You. Their hearts and their doors stated “No room in the inn.” And now, two thousand years later, many people still have signs hanging on the door frames of their homes and hearts declaring, “No room in the inn!” But may we be like the shepherds of old who left their flocks by night and came to your bedside to worship. Or may we be like the wise men from a far who traveled many miles in search of the King of Kings. And may our Christmas prayer this year be this:
Turkey Day. That’s what people are calling this day. But what is that even supposed to mean? Does it mean that today is a day to celebrate turkeys? I think not, because the entire meal is served around a golden, roasted turkey. So what’s with the “Turkey Day” expression? What happened to Thanksgiving—a time in which we reflect and remember what God has done?
Today is a day of remembrance and reflection for our country. A time to remember lives lost, sacrifices made, and a war begun. Fifteen years ago, terror struck America as three hijacked planes hurled into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The attackers’ objective: terrorize the most powerful nation in the world and bring fear and devastation. They accomplished their mission and ignited the War on Terror. Since that fateful day in 2001, there have been many other terrorist attacks in America and around the world where innocent people have lost their lives and military personnel have sacrificed theirs.
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Today is a day of remembrance and reflection for our country. A time to remember lives lost, sacrifices made, and a war begun. Read more
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