Why We Have Memorials

american-flag-2aToday is Memorial Day in the United States. (Since many of us have a three day weekend, look for Happy Monday on Tuesday this week.) While I’m not suggesting Memorial Day is a religious holiday, there is definitely a biblical basis for memorial.

Our nature is to forget. The Hebrews miraculously left Egypt, crossing the Red Sea and witnessing the destruction of Pharaoh’s army. Then almost immediately they ask Aaron to make them gods; he fashioned the golden calf even saying “these are the gods who brought you out of Egypt.” They quickly forgot their collective promise to God of “all you say we shall do.” When the Hebrews crossed the Jordan River to enter Canaan, Joshua commanded one man from each tribe to pick up a stone from the river bed. Those stones became a memorial for future generations, so that when their children asked what the pile of stones meant they could tell the story of what God had done.

Some things are important. God visited ten plagues on Egypt, the final plague being the death of the first born. God’s judgement passed over the children of Israel, and he ordained the feast of the Passover so they would never forget. Jesus met with his disciples for one final Passover meal before the crucifixion and gave them new instructions. He explained the bread was his body that was broken and that the cup was his blood poured out. He told them to do this in remembrance of me. In Egypt the sacrificial lamb had been slain; Jesus was the Lamb of God that was slain. In Egypt the blood was displayed on the door posts; his blood is displayed on our hearts. In both cases God’s judgement will pass over the believer. The former was a picture of what was to come, and both events were memorialized because nothing else is of greater importance.

Some things are important. Our nature is to forget. Happy Memorial Day. 

Memorial Day

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