(Esther 9:28) And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed.
We walk gingerly among the gravestones that dot the pathways of our memories. Like those characters in the Spoon River Anthology, shadows arise from the markers and tell their stories. They are stories of love and laughter, of providence and accidence. They touch mystery and mischief. They are stories of deep devotion and unspeakable sacrifice.
These are the sometimes vivid, sometimes shadowy memories of ordinary men and women swept up into the wave of national conflict, ready to answer the call of duty, desiring to live, willing to die, and gradually being forgotten except for this: We choose to remember them.
to remember them.
In the dash
that is their moment between the date of birth and that of death, every choice,
every embrace, each and every thought, dream, or word was accomplished and
enshrined. Dedicated beneath the stones is a place of memory. Consecrated
within the hearts of loved ones are their smiles and presence.
But they too
will die and with them, memories.
commit and strain to remember. We tell their stories. We exalt their blood
offering. We look upon their suffering with gratitude and horror. We hug their
children. We remember.
each of us is gone and our names have been erased from the consciousness of all
who knew us or of us, we can still be giving and these who died for country
will still be loved and appreciated for their selfless gifts. What they gave
will keep on giving. So let us be reminded, by their memories, to
so live, that every day, we shall create a ripple in the river of life that
will freshen the stream for all time.
The Last Battle(Philippians 3:20-21) For our conversation is in heaven; from
whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus
Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his
glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all
things unto himself.
Let us take yet another walk among the gravestones.
Citizens of Heaven that we are, we have been sent forth as ambassadors (II Cor. 5:20) and as soldiers (II Tim. 2:3). We are in a battle – not with people, but with spiritual forces, with evil and with the prince of darkness. We at war with death and the one great encouragement we have is in our upward, forward look to the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Lord of Light, the Prince of Peace, the King of Righteousness. We represent Him and we go to war at His command.
Walk among the gravestones and read the names of the fallen. Among the markings there will be names of young men and women who have paid for our liberty with their lives. We honor them and we take courage from their sacrifices in the wars of human governments. We are grateful for what they have given that we might be free.
And we learn from them. We are reminded that we are also, as believers, in the midst of hostilities. We are reminded that we cannot sleep through the battle; we must be on guard. We cannot become attached to our lives in this world for this world is not out ultimate home.
The good soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen who died for our country did not set out to die, but they were willing to lay down their lives if that was what it took to accomplish their mission. Their example and that of the Christian martyrs serve as a lesson for us who stayed behind.
If we must, we can lay down our lives as well, because of two great promises in this verse. The first is the promise of a new body and eternal life. Death is not the last word for the believer. The second is the promise of ultimate victory. We have read about the last battle; its outcome is secure. Christ Jesus wins! And He shall subdue all things unto Himself.
Let us remember the fallen today and let us take courage from their example for the battle that is before us.