A popular storyline recurring regularly recounts the tragedy of a person who loses their memory due to some tragic event. Then, beset with amnesia, the hero searches for what has been lost and the story unfolds. Remembering and recovering becomes a victory. In a similar way, the devastating illness of Alzheimer’s robs a person of their memories and devastates those who love them. Losing the lifeline of memories becomes a living heartbreak.
Memories represent the legacy of a life and become a lifeline . Yet as I was reminded by a young pastor some years ago Jesus knows we are a forgetful people. He instituted a special meal to jog our memories, reminding us of his death and promised return. “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. (Luke 22:19-20)
God frequently commanded His people to provide memory helps to recount all that He had done. Celebrations such as Passover recounted their deliverance from Egypt. Memorial Stones in the Jordan called to mind deliverance and victory. Over and over God commanded His people to remember all that He had done for them. Over and over they quickly forgot and began to complain. They had serious memory lapses both short term and long term. Not only did they forget their deliverance but they also forgot and forsook the One who delivered them.
Today as we celebrate Memorial Day the USA calls into remembrance the sacrifice of men and women who have paid the ultimate price to secure the national safety and future. It began as a memorial following the devastating civil war and continues to remind us to stop and be grateful for their sacrifice. For many the day has become merely a day for relaxation and vacation with little thought of it’s intended purpose. We are in danger of forgetting just as the Israelites did.
Jesus paid the ultimate price to provide our eternal deliverance as well. It is easy to forget His sacrifice in the rush of daily living. The courage of our military exemplifies a life willing to put others first. This Memorial Day, let’s stop to remind ourselves and our families of our national memories and of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice as well. Might this reflecting motivate us to create a living legacy of gratitude for future generations? Might we be willing to put others first and sacrifice our time or attention to serving another today?
Do you have an active service person you could encourage with a note or call? How about a veteran? Perhaps there is someone who served you in some other way in the past who would be strengthened by your remembering them and expressing appreciation? Turning our eyes outward toward others could make this Memorial Day a lifeline or legacy for someone else.