I’m taking a break from this Radical series because I have some issues. Not the ones those who know me may think I have, but I have a real issue with a phrase that is most inappropriate to me. And if you want to think, “Well that’s your problem”, go right ahead, if it makes you feel better about yourself. I am not changing my feelings right now. It’s about the phrase “Happy Memorial Day”!
When I looked up that word on dictionary.com it only adds to my issues about this phrase. According to the website it means: “delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing”. Can you now feel a sense of my righteous indignation? I mean, businesses have flood the advertising world with big banners over their sale prices, “Happy Memorial Day”! Happy New Year, Happy Birthday, Happy Mothers Day, Happy Fathers Day, Happy Fourth of July, Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Christmas (I won’t say the word ‘holidays) are all appropriate. Not so with this day, Memorial Day.
Instead of using the word “Happy”, use the definition and it sounds like this: “Delighted, Pleased, or Glad You Lost A Family Member, Friend Or Fellow Soldier In Combat.” Someone reading this just thought, “Wait a minute Radical Kingdom Pastor, that’s not what I mean when I say Happy Memorial Day!” BUT, if words having meanings, and they do, then this is exactly what you are saying. Because words DO have meaning, this is why I refuse to say, I can’t even write it down any more. It makes me nauseated.
Part of my nausea from hearing that phrase comes from some of my life experiences. I am the very proud Father and Father-In-Law of 2 combat veterans. Each time they were deployed (one time they were both deployed in Iraq at the same time) I lived with the fear that a car would pull up in my driveway and a fine dressed soldier would step out of it and walk to our front door. I still remember to this day that Saturday morning when my phone rang. It was my son calling from Iraq and his first words were “Dad, I’m OK.” I immediately knew something was wrong. His Humvee had been hit by an IED, but he was OK. But for many other families, friends, and fellow soldiers, everything was NOT OK. What was my fear, is now their daily reality.
And if someone who is reading these words has lost a family member, friend or fellow soldier-in-arms, please know that even though I do not know your pain, my heart does ache for you. And on this MEMORIAL DAY, and every day, I live with gratitude for the freedoms I enjoy because of their sacrifice. And even more so on this day, I pray for your comfort and for God to continue to give you the strength to get through another day. You will never get over your loss, but with God’s grace, you will get through those tough moments when you miss them so very much.
I do have a wish, I call it a High Hope, that Democrats and Republicans would take this day to remember that this nation is much more than your egos and personal ideologies. Remember that your comfort has been made possible only, I said ONLY because of the sacrifices of those we are called to remember this day. And to all the news media people, YOU are not the protectors of liberty, but are protected by the blood of those who gave it all, and to all who gave some. News people, just get over yourselves and know your place in all this we call the U.S. of A.
And to all you Churchians, Tenured Pew Sitters and Protectors Of Religion–YOU need to remember that your spiritual freedom also came with a price and that price included blood. Not just any blood, but the blood of Jesus, who became human just like us. Remember that for HIM to become one of us, He freely GAVE UP His divine nature. And you want to complain about YOUR stuff? Wanting things YOUR way? You really want to whine that things are not like they were in 1960 or 1970 when there are so many who need what only the Good News of the Kingdom can deliver? Shame on you, shame on you, SHAME ON YOU!
This day should remind us that to live a life that is both meaningful and worthwhile we need to live the way these heroes died and the way Jesus died! Stop being so selfish and petty. For heaven’s sake get over yourselves. Today is Memorial Day–remember and live with deeper purpose and gratitude. I invite to you view this link to a video titled “Signs And Numbers”. It’s a few years old and the numbers are even larger, but the message remains the same.
Love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to Him.