Let Us Remember, Relish, and Return on This Memorial Day 5/28/00

Proverbs 14:34

Jesus Christ repetitiously called upon people to “remember.” Knowing the truths spoken and seeing the forgetfulness of the people, He appealed for them to remember statements and standards that would guide them.

Biblically memorials were often established to keep alive the action taken or truths learned. These memorials varied.

DAYS were often set aside as memorials. To keep alive the memory of God delivering His people from slavery in Egypt the Lord established the Passover and said of it: “This day shall be to you a memorial …” (Exodus 12:14).

BOOKS often record memorial deeds and events. Joshua won a remarkable victory over Amalek and the Lord commissioned the people to “Write this for a memorial in a book..” (Exodus 17:14).

PLACES are also set aside as memorials. The Lord declared the Tabernacle should be “A memorial unto the children of Israel” (Exodus 30: 16).

EVENTS are commemorated as memorials. When Joshua led the children of Israel out of the wilderness into the promised land a memorial was established. A stone memorial was established on the banks of the Jordan. It was done so those who came after them and seeing the stones might ask, “What do these stones mean?” This allowed the story to be retold and the memory kept alive (Joshua 4:5 – 7).

Our Lord established the Lord’s Supper and charged us to engage in it “In remembrance …” of Him.

Our predecessors knew of the expediency of our nation remembering, relishing, and returning to virtues and values and long since established a Memorial Day. It was intended to be a day on which the nation would pause and honor those fallen in battle and the precious principles for which they died. Most have forgotten the reason for the holiday and simply enjoy a day off from work. Let us —-

Rudyard Kipling said, “Lord of host, be with us yet, lest we forget, lest we forget.” It is fitting that our nation should pause to remember the countless sons and daughters who at great sacrifice and many at the greatest sacrifices won and preserved our freedoms.

CIVIL WAR 498,332
WORLD WAR I 116,710
WORLD WAR II 407,316

As we remember and memorialize those who paid the ultimate price let’s not fail to honor those who also served and sacrificed. In remembering the fallen let us —

We honor those who have gone before by striving to preserve and perpetuate the values and virtues for which they gave of themselves while resisting the vices that erode them. Dare this generation spare itself by not paying the price to champion the good for which others died?

To have a freedom and not exercise it is little better than not having that freedom. For example, much is said about not having the former freedom of prayer in schools once enjoyed. We have the freedom of prayer in our homes. Are we using it? Is there no more prayer in your home than in our schools? What value is a freedom if not exercised?

Let us show our appreciation for our freedoms by using them to the fullest glory of our Lord.

The appeal made to ancient Israel is applicable today:
“Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest; when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the
land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; …then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth … “And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth… “Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the LORD your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish.” (Deuteronomy 8:11-19).

Let us relish the freedom and —-

Judge Robert Bork describes America as “Slouching Toward Gomorrah.”

By no means were all of our Founding Fathers Christians nor did they all always live according to the teaching of the Bible. They did however believe the Bible and establish our nation on Scriptural principles.

Thomas Jefferson noted: “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure, when we have removed their only firm basis — the conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?”

Our predecessors have marked out path with memorials.

E. Stanley Jones observed, “If we lose our sense of being led, we become victims of circumstances.”

Eighty one year old Benjamin Franklin left us this verbal memorial:
“In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine Protection. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor…. Have we forgotten the powerful friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?

“I have lived, sir, a long time and the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: God governs in the affairs of men….”

Thomas Jefferson left us this verbal memorial: “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure, when we have removed their only firm basis — the conviction in the minds of people that these liberties are the gift of God.”

The framers of our Declaration of Independence left us the legacy of these lines: “With firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

For a memorial look at our currency. There you will see the words “In God We Trust.” On the right side of a dollar bill is the great seal of the United States. There is a great pyramid and above a giant eye symbolizing the eye of God. Above the pyramid in Latin are the words “He smiles on our beginnings.” Beneath it in Latin these words: “A new order of the ages.”

Our predecessors labored under the conviction that God was overseeing their efforts in establishing a new order of freedom.

In 1831 the French government sent Alexis de Tocqueville to examine our prisons and penitentiaries. He became so intrigued by our system of government and its institutions that he spent considerable time analyzing life in America. On his return to France he wrote his classic, “Democracy in America.” Many scholars feel it is the greatest of all works on any national policy and culture. In it he wrote: “I sought for the greatness and genius in America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there…I sought for the greatness and genius in America in her democratic congress and her matchless constitution and it was not there…

“Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand here genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

Tocqueville like Solomon was right: “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is the reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).

Arnold Toynbee, the distinguished historian, numbers nineteen great civilizations that have existed since governments were formed. Ours is one. Toynbee observed spiritual currents running through history. He concluded no major nation has ever been murdered. They have committed suicide. They forgot the true purpose of their being, and rotted on the inside. Let’s learn!

Now let us —-