As you are all well aware, yesterday marked our nation's observance of Memorial Day. Yesterday was the first time in thirteen years that I did not march in a Memorial Day parade, or offer public prayer at a war memorial. We all had to find new ways to pay tribute to, and honor those, who gave their lives in service to our country. Social media was full of posts remembering family members, friends and neighbors.
I struggled with the words I might share. I spent hours contemplating what words to post to commemorate the holiday. Perhaps it was the lack of public ceremony that made it so difficult to select the proper words. Without the symbolism of marching to the town cemetery, without the opportunity to stand before the markers memorializing the dead, it seemed as though the words had to bear an extra measure of meaning.
After much contemplation, I decided to keep my words simple. I offered the two words with which I begin every prayer ... thank you.
Thank you for accepting the call to serve and defend our country.
Thank you for accepting the risk inherent in that call.
Thank you for putting the health and freedom of others before your own.
Thank you ... for offering your lives.
Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)
You laid down your lives for your family and your friends. You laid down your lives for neighbors and strangers that you never met. Surely, there is no greater love than that.
This weekend, we celebrate a significant moment in the life of the Christian Church ... Pentecost. It is the day that is considered to be the birthday of the church. It was the day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the people gathered in Jerusalem with a mighty wind, and alighted upon each of them as a tongue of flame. It was the day in which God offered the Word to people of every tribe and nation.
Nearly two thousand years later, the church is still in the process of being born. Every day, there are those who hear God's voice for the first time. Every day, there are those who experience the power of the Holy Spirit. Every day, there are those who feel the redemptive love of Jesus Christ.
Right now we live in a strange new world. Some days we struggle to find our way. Other days we are filled with the excitement of new discovery. On Sunday, we will explore the ways that the church is still being born for us and through us. We will consider the ways that the Holy Spirit of God is still acting in new and powerful ways.
Congregational ChurchUCC, SACO MAINE12 BEACH STREET | SACO, ME 04072