Memorial Day weekend is the first REAL weekend of the summer for most of the country, maybe the last 3 day weekend of the winter for those of us in Wyoming. And although it usually rains or presents some other kind of adverse weather (I try not to say the “S” word this time of year.), we still enjoy time with our families, good food, and generally embrace the freedoms granted to us. Freedoms purchased at the great expense of the precious lives of our fallen countrymen.
Memorial Day, initially called Decoration Day, began after the Civil War. Waterloo, New York was officially credited as the first city to celebrate Decoration Day by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966, but history isn’t really sure where it started. It is clear, however, that after World War I its observance truly became a National Memorial.
Great Nations are Built by GREAT People
It doesn’t take long to find the great stories of heroism that have made America a great nation. The stories of our founding fathers, of great men and women who have united us when we were led astray by our own short sightedness, and stories of great sacrifice and loss of life for the ideal of freedom fill our brief story as America.
Courage, loyalty, friendship, persistence, integrity and love are the foundational qualities of such people. Many of them were conditioned through great hardship, difficulty, and even persecution. And although you can point to many famous leaders throughout our Story, at some point you should be able to see that every great struggle of America eventually required the courage of normal everyday citizens for its resolution.
So that raises a question, at least for me, what KIND of person am I. What KIND of children are my children? Are we the “Great” kind of people a nation needs to survive, to recover, and eventually to thrive? And, if for some reason we are not prepared for the challenges that may surprise us at any moment, what should we do?
As much as I would like to argue for character training in our youth, or citizenship requirements or military service, or anything that helps one generation grasp its responsibility to its country, I realize that Great People are a gift from a Great God. They are a blessing granted to a country and a community simply because God is a Graceful, Merciful and Loving God.
So, The Path to GREAT is through the Throne room of God
1 Timothy 2:1-3 NLT I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior,
I must not allow myself to be pulled into the quicksand of division. My countries hope is not in “conquering my enemies” especially when I have been duped into believing that my enemy is my countryman.
And as a Christian, I literally have no earthly enemies. I am instructed and empowered to forgive anyone and everyone simply because Christ has forgiven me. In fact, I am commanded by my savior to LOVE my enemies and BLESS those that curse me. Do you know why? Because God LOVES every single man, woman, and child on this planet. God Loves me, and God Loves you, and He Loves all of your enemies as well as those dear to you. But, how do you Love people, that quite frankly… you don’t.
The Path to GREAT requires a companion
You concentrate your efforts, your desires, and your attention upon the God, who IS Love. Only by spending time with Him, in prayer, in His Word, in a faith community will you ever find the life changing power of Love so necessary to becoming a GREAT people.
Quite frankly, we are too distracted to be GREAT. God could stand physically in our presence and we would not notice. Jesus Christ could show up physically at any point in our day and I doubt we would have time for Him. Where did I get such a crazy notion? Well… Read this…
Matthew 11:28-30 NLT Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
There’s Jesus begging to be in your life. Not just IN your life, but ready to change it, ready to fix it, ready to make it really living, instead of just surviving until you die. But so few actually spend any time with Him.
Do you really want to “Make America Great Again”? Become the kind of person that it takes to make a Great Country. Do you really believe, “Love Trumps Hate”? Then we must learn what real love is and the place to learn that lesson is only found in the presence of a God who exists eternally as Love.
Please enjoy your memorial day, honor the memory of the fallen, and embrace your freedom. But, when Tuesday comes, consider becoming someone GREAT!!