Memories; they can be a powerful force in our lives. Some of our more painful experiences we would prefer to forget. Others we choose to hold dear. But regardless of how it feels, every so often it’s necessary to take some time out of our busy lives to reflect. When processed in a healthy way, our memories of the past help to provide perspective for the future while steering us in a meaningful direction.
For many in the United States, Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer season. For those who have lost loved ones to war, the holiday means so much more. Memorial Day provides all of us a time to reflect on the price that others have paid so that we might live in freedom. As we remember their love and bravery, it’s helpful to reflect on whether we are living our lives in a way that honors their extreme sacrifice.
Memorial Day is also a time when families visit the graves of relatives who have already stepped into eternity. A multitude of emotions begins to rise as we think about the good times and the bad. Whether our memories are painful or pleasant, we are reminded that it’s our relationships that really matter and that our non-stop quest to accumulate stuff means very little.
Memorial Day obviously carries a spiritual dynamic, but it actually runs deeper than many of us realize. The concept of a memorial is by no means new. More than once, God commanded our spiritual ancestors to establish a place of remembrance.
Jesus did the same when He initiated the sacrament of communion.
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when 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 took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (NASB)
Far more than a mindless or empty ritual, communion provides the opportunity for us to reflect on several significant truths.
1. God’s devotion to His children runs deep—to the point that Jesus willingly paid the ultimate price so that we might live.
2. No matter how difficult our lives may be, the future is filled with hope because our Lord will never forget us. One day, He will return to lift us into eternal glory.
3. Our time on this earth is short, and nothing should be taken for granted.
As we think of our fallen heroes, our departed loved ones, and the God who gave it all so that we might live, one of the best things we can do to honor them during this time of remembrance is to celebrate their lives and to live unselfishly.