Memorial Day, A Powerful Teaching Moment

Memorial Day is coming! How many homes and Sunday school classes will make the most of this teaching moment?

History is full of memorials. This is a cultural teaching moment opportunity to train our children in the importance of remembering. If we don’t intentionally plan to remember, we won’t. If we don’t preserve what we remember, we forget the most important details, the meaning of the event, the lessons learned, the victories won.

The Bible is full of memorials. From Jacob to the calling of Moses in Exodus, to set His people free and continuing throughout the Bible, God sets up memorials. In Genesis 31:45 we see Jacob setting up a stone of rememberance, “So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a memorial pillar.”

In Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, “I am that I am.” And he said, “You must say this to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” In Exodus 3:15 God also said to Moses, “You must say this to the Israelites, ‘The Lord—the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you. This is my name forever, and this is my memorial from generation to generation.’

In Joshua 4 we read, “When the entire nation was on the other side, the Lord told Joshua, “Select for yourselves twelve men from the people, one per tribe. Instruct them, ‘Pick up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests stand firmly, and carry them over with you and put them in the place where you camp tonight.’”

Joshua summoned the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one per tribe. Joshua told them, “Go in front of the ark of the Lord your God to the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to put a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the Israelite tribes. The stones will be a reminder to you. When your children ask someday, ‘Why are these stones important to you?’  tell them how the water of the Jordan stopped flowing before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the water of the Jordan stopped flowing. These stones will be a lasting memorial for the Israelites.”

For the believer, the greatest memorial to mark our freedom in Christ is the Lord’s Supper. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 says, “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took bread, and after he had given thanks he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’  In the same way, he also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, every time you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For every time you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” Making the most of teaching moments is how we train the next generation to remember what is important, learn from past mistakes, and plant seeds of hope for that which we know is to come. Remembering is a very solemn and important part of the life of a believer. What better teaching moment than Memorial Day to teach our children the importance of memorials?

Suzi Ciliberti works for Christar, a Missions Agency that plants churches among least-reached Asians worldwide. She served in Japan for two years as a single missionary and another nine with her husband and two children, then the family returned to the states. She and her husband have been serving in the US Mobilization Center since 2000. As a part of the Member Care Department, Suzi is consultant to families with children. She has been working as a children’s teacher since she was 17 and began her training under Child Evangelism Fellowship. She has taught in the church, as a school teacher for two years in a Christian elementary school, and as a speaker for adults training to work with children. She has also trained children, who are a part of families that work overseas, in their identity in Christ. She brings 44 years of teaching experience to her work. She loves creative writing as well as teaching and has found great fulfillment in combining the two as she blogs for Heartprints. She finds it a great privilege and joy to serve the Lord and His people. One of her favorite verses is Deuteronomy 4:10b, "Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children."

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