Monday, as I hope everyone knows, is Memorial Day. This holiday originated during the Civil War as citizens remembered and honored those who had died serving the nation—both North and South. While the heart and soul of the holiday is often overshadowed by marketing campaigns tied to the celebration of the beginning of summer, the importance of honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice should always remain front and center.
As First Church, we should certainly take the time to remember and honor the sacrifices of so many people—those we have known personally, as well as all who have served. (Personally, I thank God for my Uncle Glen Seeber, who died as his bomber was blasted apart over Germany during World War Two.) While several of my personal family members and friends have served in the armed forces more recently, none (thankfully!) died while in the Service. The loved ones and sacrifices you recall may be much closer and fresher, however…
Is there anything more we as the Church can and should do? I think so. There is so much more going on with former and current Service men and women than just the dysfunctions being brought out concerning V.A. hospitals. There is a profound need for the Church to rise up and offer healing, forgiveness and hope to veterans. I think about the ways God used this congregation to minister to Malcolm Rios (our former Youth Pastor) as he returned from a tour of duty in Iraq. Even as Malcolm ministered to our youth, God through this church was ministering to Malcolm as he dealt with the ungodly stuff he saw and experienced while serving. The healing process was just that—a process—but the results are great!
While we at First Church are praying and administering the Kingdom concerning the downfall of religiosity, poverty, and addictiveness, it’s time to pray and discern God’s will with military veterans in mind. A religianity that confuses patriotism for Godliness needs to give way to pure Christianity—where Jesus-restoration can lift veterans out of even the darkest place and into marvelous light…! (Patriotism is a good thing—but Godliness is absolutely necessary!) With multitudes of Veterans dealing with pain through prescriptions, pills, and bottles, we at First Church must offer more than the hope of healing and freedom from drugs—we must pound on the doors of heaven until it is happening here in the lives of Vets on a daily basis. Likewise, we cannot be comfortable with the number of Veterans—right here in our area—who are trapped in poverty of soul and finances. We have been called to pray this through to victory!!
This Memorial Day, please remember those who have fallen. Also, please pray for those who are falling away, falling apart, and falling through the cracks. Many Veterans will rise in victory as the principalities of wickedness fall in defeat!