God knows we are a forgetful people. Jesus commanded us to “remember His death” every time we share the bread and wine. Throughout the Old Testament God instructed His people to build memorials to remind the nation of His faithfulness and to inform new generations about sacrifices and victories of the past. Memorials are appropriate. They challenge us to stop, remember and give thanks. Thankfulness must be cultivated. Memories of God’s faithfulness strengthen us for faithful living today.
Established following the brutal Civil War, Memorial Day honors the lives sacrificed for our freedom. Since the Civil War, Americans have given their lives serving in the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, the Iraq War and now the Afghanistan War. Today we celebrate those who made this ultimate sacrifice as well as honor those who today serve in foreign battlefields facing danger.
The church sings a familiar hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” with an interesting word, Ebenezer, found in I Samuel 7:12:
“Here I raise mine Ebenezer; hither by thy help I'm come; and I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home.”
After God intervened on behalf of Israel giving a great victory, Samuel took a stone and placed it between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Up to here the Lord has helped us.” I Samuel 7:12
On this Memorial Day, would you consider beginning a family “Ebenezer Book” where you record specific times and places where you or your family experienced God’s faithfulness this year, times “when the Lord helped us.” Recording and recalling His faithfulness builds confidence for future conflicts, personal or national. Cultivate thankfulness this Memorial Day.