Mick’s Memo – Memorial Day

The Memorial Day holiday we celebrate this weekend is intended to honor those who have died in defense of our country.  It was originally intended to honor Civil War dead but has been extended to others who have died in other conflicts and even to remembering all loved ones who have died.

Memorial is not so much about death itself—we all face that event at some point.  Memorials are about how the remembered person lived.  We reflect on their values, personalities, achievements and their influence.  We remember their place in the relational fabric of life from family to community to workplace and to intergenerational impact.  It involves conveying wisdom, truth, and example.

We all influence our surroundings, like rocks thrown in a pond.  But what kind of influence do we have?  What kind does the Lord want us to have?  I think the 2nd question is easier to discern.  Jesus was clear about it.  He expected His followers to imitate his example as we talk about frequently, including during our message last weekend about “legacy”…

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” John 13:34-35 (MSG)

If we want this kind of influence, we need to figure out what He means by “in the same way”.  His love is preemptive.  He loves us before we loved Him (1 John 4:10,19).  His love is sacrificial, unconditional, “as is” love (Rom. 5:8).  His love wants the best FOR us, not something FROM us (John 10:10).  That kind of love doesn’t come natural to us, it is learned behavior.  It takes intentionality, even discipline.

It also requires more than we can produce on our own.  It involves God’s intervention and empowerment to get anywhere close to Christlike love.  We see the contrast between our “natural” drives and the fruits of the Spirit, the marks of Spiritual maturity…

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:19-23a (NLT)

We remember the influence of those who manifest these traits because they enrich, motivate, and transform the lives of those they touch. 

As we reflect on the life-changers God has put in our lives this weekend, whether war heroes or others, I pray that we will be stimulated to follow Jesus’ and their example.

We will be having our Memorial weekend watchfire at 7:30PM Sunday here at the church, please bring any flags you would like to properly retire.

Hope to see you Sunday morning as we consider the 3rd option for “Connections”.

Blessings,

Mick

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