May 26, 2013

MY BLOG, Parents Toolbox

What does Memorial Day mean to you?  Could you explain to your children the meaning behind the celebration of this day late in the month of May – associated with Graduation, end of school, beginning of Summer, a three-day weekend, opportunity for an outing to the beach, or a park, or cooking out and getting together with friends and family?

A memorial is that which preserves the memory of something; anything that serves to keep in memory.  It is that which calls to remembrance.  The word ‘remembrance’ is a word not often used today.  It means the retaining or having in mind an idea which had been present before, and which recurs to the mind afterwards without the presence of its object.  It’s an account preserved; something to assist the memory.

The sight of a cross reminds us of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Christmas reminds us of Jesus’ birth.  The 4th of July reminds us of America’s Independence as a nation.  But what does Memorial Day mean to us?  And what is the significance of so many of our holidays?  Are they just days to rest up, days we don’t have to go to work, days to sleep in and catch up on chores?  Have they lost their significance, and therefore, their power to do what God intended them to do?

Biblically, many things were used by God to help His people remember Him and the magnificent things He had done for them in the past as an encouragement for them to trust Him in the present and the future.  Memorials for God’s People have always served as reminders of what God has done in behalf of individuals, families, and nations. They are physical, visible objects with reference to a previous time in history.  And they have a Gospel Purpose!

Recently, at a large Conference, my husband and I heard a university Professor state that more than any other generation, the current generation of young people have very little or no fear of God.  Could it be partly due to the fact that our memorials have lost the power to bring to remembrance?

Memorials were significant teaching tools for future generations who may not have been alive during a period of history in which God worked mightily on behalf of their forefathers.  Therefore the Lord commanded His people to set up memorials, sometimes huge stones piled up or pillars, or names engraved to serve as remembrances, or special days and celebrations.  Even Communion is served in Christian Churches in remembrance of the Lord’s sacrifice for us and we are to think of Him each time we partake of it.

When God commanded Joshua to take up large stones out of the River Jordan and pile them in a heap in Gilgal, He gave these instructions:

When your children ask their fathers in time to come, “What do these stones mean?”  You shall let your children know, “Israel came over this Jordan on dry ground.  For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up for us until we passed over, That all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty and that you may reverence and fear the Lord your God forever.”

When God’s people celebrate memorials it gives them the opportunity to tell their children again and again why they are celebrating.  It gives them an opportunity to recount the wondrous things God has done for His people, that each generation might know that the hand of the Lord is mighty and that they might reverence and fear the Lord their God forever!

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