Beloved in Christ,
You may be reading this after Memorial Day. I know that Memorial Day happens in May. But this year it is the very last day of May, so I was thinking about Memorial Day, especially since we have had a number of deaths in the congregation recently. Memorial Day has become a big travel weekend to start the summer season. It’s a big camping weekend and I’m not knocking that. I like camping, but the weather is often marginal at best for camping at the end of May. Everyone needs some R & R and a chance to get out of town for a couple days.
In years past, Memorial Day was more about remembering departed loved ones and tidying up gravesites and decorating them with flowers. This is still a very good tradition. I have been thinking about Memorial Day since a number of our Sisters and Brothers in Christ have died recently and fairly close together: Jan Riggs, Norma Fretheim, Lois Sorensen and Bill Schmidt. It is good to remember and give thanks for our dear departed loved ones: the wonderful people who have cared for us, shaped us and helped us grow.
As Christians, we especially give thanks for all the marvelous people who have raised and nurtured us in the Christian faith. Usually this is our moms and dads, but also grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends at church, maybe even an old pastor or two. Remembering dear departed loved ones can be a little sad at times. We miss our loved ones. Of course we do. I still miss my Dad, although he has been gone for some years now.
But we do not grieve as people who have no hope. Instead we place all our hope in Jesus our Savior, who is the way, the truth and the life. As people of faith, we know that by his death, Jesus has conquered sin and death for us. And by his rising Jesus has opened the door to the heavenly life forever with God. Our Savior Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26.
Blessed be the memory among us of dear departed family members and friends. Thanks be to God who gives us the victory over death through the death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus.