This past weekend we observed the annual event known as Memorial Day. This day was the direct result of our country’s reflection on the terrible cost of the war of rebellion as they observed the cemeteries that were filled with fathers, sons, uncles, and brothers. Resolve grew to never forget this tragic period of our history and was observed by placing flowers on the graves of those killed in battle. Eventually this observance came to include all American military campaign casualties.
The reason for memorials should be clear enough to us since we seem to be forgetful beings and often need reminders to prevent lapses in memory of significant events in history. We find memorials in many aspects of our culture and we can even find a number throughout the Holy Scriptures. We are told in Exodus 12:14 that the Passover was to be “a memorial” and was to be celebrated as a “permanent ordinance.” Exodus 16:32-34 presents a call to remember that God provided food for the children of Israel after their deliverance from Egypt when they could not provide for themselves. Leviticus 23:42-43 calls for a seven day annual “feast of booths” memorial to remember the lack of a homeland for Israel and their need to live in tents for an extended period after deliverance from Egypt. Moving on to the New Testament we find Jesus instituting the memorial of His sacrifice in three of the four Gospels with a record also by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11. Paul received his knowledge directly from the Lord and tells us, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” (NAS) Jesus’ sacrifice is a declaration of God’s love and our observance serves as our reminder. It could well be said that Jesus came with the message from His Heavenly Father, to “Tell them that I love them,” and a similar message for His disciples to share with the world, “that He loves them, too.” What a memorial!
Copyright © 2009, Nolan P. Rutter