Saturday, May 28, 2011

Easter VI - Memorial Day

Tomorrow's Collect is very appropriate for both Easter-tide and Memorial Day Weekend. ...

Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord Amen. Sunday's message from the Gospel of John reminds us that Jesus' love is constantly available to us through God's Holy Spirit. Christ's sacrificial love is the governing commandment for our daily lives. We are members of Christ's body because of his willingness to live in this world, die for our sins, and reconcile us to God and one another through his resurrection.

This year's observance of Memorial Day especially reminds us that we live in a free and democratic society. We somewhat complacently and unconsciously enjoy this holiday because of the sacrificial military service of women and men who willingly take vows to defend our Constitution. Our freedom to worship, work, pray, and play as we do is available to us because soldiers, sailors, marines, and Air Force personnel do everything from winning the war in Afghanistan through ingenuity to offering support to victims of the horrible tornadoes in Joplin, MO.

How often do we visibly and honestly express our thanks to God for Jesus Christ's life, death, and resurrection? On a more national plane: How many of us owe our lives in some manner or another because of the service and/or sacrifice of a military service member or veteran? All of us really. Do we return our thanks to God for the presence of Jesus Christ who is our ultimate savior and friend by caring for our neighbors in uniform, who willingly place themselves in harm's way?

It's interesting to note that less than 1% of our nation's population serves in the US Military. Tragically, current statistics suggest that more and more young servicemen and women are committing suicide than are dying in combat. Our political and theological views may vary about whether or not we should be prosecuting a war in Afghanistan. The fact that we are does not negate the principle that we as citizens of this nation promise to take care of the brave young women and men who serve thousands of miles away from home and often return to us with huge problems and no one to talk to other than a therapist once every three months or so.

Christian compassion commands us to care for our neighbors and we are presently ignoring young Veterans in my opinion. Check out this Brian Lehrer interview w/ Paula Caplan and ascertain whether or not you and your church should be doing more to listen to the stories and sorrows of our Vets. We can all learn more about welcoming them home here.

Blessings Along The Way, Jim+

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