(This article was written by a brother named Gary Hutchens. I made minor revisions and corrections to it. –Gary)
Tomorrow is Memorial Day, a national holiday. The holiday, formerly known as Decoration Day, commemorates military men and women who have died while in service to the United States. The holiday was first established to honor Union soldiers who gave their lives during the Civil War. One historian stated that the first Memorial Day celebration was observed in 1865 in Charleston, SC by thousands of liberated slaves and Union soldiers at the site of a former Confederate prison camp. The official birthplace of the holiday is Waterloo, NY where it was first celebrated on May 5, 1866. After World War I the focus of the day was expanded to honor all who died in any war or military action in the history of our nation.
The original purpose of Memorial Day was serious and probably evoked considerable solemnity. It was common for people to visit gravesites of loved ones who had died in military service on that day. One wonders how many people today realize the significance of the holiday. Today, Memorial Day seems to be more about having a day off work, going on a picnic with the family, and watching the Indianapolis 500. While those might be worthy endeavors, the real purpose of the day is what makes it special. Forgetting completely what Memorial Day is about leaves us more vulnerable to would-be enemies who would put us under their subjection.
Today is Sunday, the first day of the week. It is a memorial day that far surpasses in significance the holiday our nation will observe tomorrow. This is a day when the Christians who make up the Lord’s church gather to worship God and remember the death of our Savior on the cross. He put His life on the line and paid our debt in order that we could have the opportunity to be set free from the slavery and condemnation of sin. He died so we could live eternally. In partaking of the Lord’s Supper we remember His death. In the bread we see the nails driving through His hands and feet and the spear piercing His side. In the cup we see the blood that was shed from His body while hanging on that cross. On this day we honor our Savior in His death for us and also announce to the world that He is risen and that He is coming again!
Unfortunately, as with that other Memorial Day, many seem to have forgotten the real significance of Sunday. For many it has become simply a day off work, a day to sleep late, to work in the yard, play golf, go to the park, or to pursue any other personal endeavors. Forgetting what this day is all about leaves us vulnerable to the most dangerous of all enemies, the devil himself, and our forgetfulness opens the door to once again becoming his slaves, bound by the chains of sin. We need to remember!