Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer, especially with temperatures climbing and local school years ending just before the weekend’s arrival.  At risk of being lost in the race to embrace summer is Memorial Day itself and its intended purpose: to honor those who died while serving in our nation’s armed forces. For about 150 years in various parts of the country and in various forms, Memorial Day (or Decoration Day as it was known because of the decorating of soldiers’ graves) has been observed. “No one has greater love than this – to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” says Jesus. In I John we hear that sentiment echoed: “We know love by this, that Jesus laid down his life for us – and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.” On Memorial Day we recognize those who laid down their lives for us in service to the nation and thus showed great love for their friends, those they knew and those they never knew, except as fellow citizens. We may fairly debate the merits of the causes for which they were sent to fight but on this weekend we honor all those who went and served and died because they placed their lives at risk on our behalf.

Last Sunday evening the Session revised a policy with regard to funerals at Covenant for those who have served in the armed forces. If the casket is to be in the sanctuary a pall of white silk is usually used to cover the casket during the service or the casket is left uncovered; a national flag for someone who has served his/her nation will now be permitted to serve as the pall covering the casket, if that is the family’s desire. In life and in death we all belong to God regardless of nationality; the flag simply recognizes service to the nation as we gather to celebrate the life of a loved one who has died and to affirm God’s promises in Christ for him or her and for us all!

John Peterson