This coming Monday is Memorial Day. Most of us like Memorial Day because it is a day that we get off from work. It was originally started 140 years ago to put flowers and remember the Civil War soldiers. After WWI, it became a day of remembrance for all of our fallen soldiers. I am really grateful for soldiers who put their lives on the line for our country. America has truly had brave men and women serve in her armed forces. I do believe that these brave people should be honored and remembered. I was asked a couple weeks ago by the elders at the church I serve at to do a special sermon to remember the soldiers. It just so happened that in going through Philippians we are coming to the passage where Paul talks about advancing the Gospel through the Praetorian Guard, the special-ops of the Roman Army.
My struggle is that while I do want to remember our soldiers, and every family member or friend that we've lost, I feel like Memorial Day in churches has become another way that American churches promote folk religion. In the Memorial Day services that I have been apart of and have watched on TV done by the Mega-churches, it has become a service that celebrates American greatness and not the resurrection of Christ. I do not know if that is intentional or not, but it concerns me. I do believe in honoring our country. I love the Fourth of July, but I think we need to remember that as Christians, we are citizens of the Kingdom of God. Citizens of the Kingdom of God do honor soldiers, but also pray and love for our enemies. That is often missing in Memorial Day services. I believe that the Kingdom of God rejects the Kingdom of the Sword, and the violence that is brought with it. The Kingdom of God brings peace and new life through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I'm not quite sure how to convey this pastorally to a congregation so tied in with American pride. Don't get me wrong, I think it is good to have pride in one's country, but remembering that the Kingdom of God often calls us to do the opposite of what society says. Tomorrow, we'll remember our soldiers, our loved ones, and friends in a time of prayer and remembrance. Although this might be unpopular, I think that I will also lead a time of remembrance for our "enemies" who have lost loved ones as well, and a prayer that God's peace will advance in a seemingly hopeless situation. What do ya'll think?