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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Memorial Day sermon

I read a survey this week regarding Memorial Day. The conclusions were that
very few people, especially our young people had any idea as to what the day
was about.

Memorial Day now marks the start of the summer vacation season as Labor Day
does its end. It is the time that the airline ticket prices go up and the
hotels begin their "summer" rates, but it has not always been that way.

The holiday began as time of remembrance of the sacrifices made and for
reconciliation of the nation after the Civil War. By the early 20th century,
Memorial Day had begun its transition to an occasion for more general
remembrance of those who had died. People in general began visiting the
graves of their deceased relatives. As time when by people began placing
flowers and wreaths upon the graves of their departed loved ones. Whether
they had served in the military or not was no longer the main focus, it was
a time of remembrance.

As time progressed it has become a long weekend increasingly devoted to
shopping, family get-togethers, fireworks, trips to the beach, and national
media events such as the Indianapolis 500 auto race, held since 1911 on
Memorial Day. Not a bad thing, but not what it was intended to be either.

I'm afraid that for some the same thing has happened for The Lord's Memorial
day. We come together on the First Day of each week for a purpose that is
sometimes forgotten. We come together and enjoy the friendship and
fellowship of other like minded people. We encourage one another and support
one another and for some it is the highlight of their week, because they get
to spend time with people they enjoy being with. That's not a bad thing,
it's how it is suppose to be!

However that is not the main reason we come together. The day was set aside
by The Lord to remember him and his sacrifice for us and the reconciliation
between us and God made possible by Him.

It all began in Matthew 26:26-30 where we read: "And as they were eating,
Jesus took bread, and blessed, and take it; and he gave to the disciples,
and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took a cup, and gave thanks,
and gave to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the
covenant, which is poured out for many unto remission of sins. But I say
unto you, I shall not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that
day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. And when they had
sung a hymn, they went out unto the mount of Olives."

In Acts 20:7 we see this memorial was a regular practice in the first
century church. We read: "And upon the first day of the week, when we were
gathered together to break bread."

The purpose for us coming together on the First Day of the week is the
memorial! The remembering of what Jesus did for us. The rest of what we do
is all good, it is rewarding, it is necessary, but don't forget the reason
for the day!

Russ Lawson

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