“Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”
It often seems that Memorial Day has become known as “the unofficial start to summer” and is a day off of work that many people enjoy. Yet, Memorial Day is also a day we are called to take time to remember and to give thanks for the value of life and the freedoms we enjoy.
This day, originally known as Decoration Day, started after the American Civil War in 1866 to honor the Union and Confederate soldiers that had died in the war. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May and commemorates all men and women who have died in military service.
Days like Memorial Day can also be times to remember loved one that have gone before us and be times to remind us of God’s presence with us in the midst of all things; even times of fear and uncertainty. We are told hundreds of times in the Bible to not fear. And most of those places in Scripture where we are told to not fear or not to be afraid are followed with words that God is with us and that God upholds and sustains us.
I read a quote recently by author and teacher Parker Palmer about what to do when we are broken or tired in life or by circumstances of life. He writes, “What can we do when we are personally or politically broken? We take sanctuary. We gather with those we love. We remember, we share stories or we sit in silence until we can go on. There is a time for positive action, to do what needs to be done. But there are also times when we rest in the arms of what most sustains us.”
On this Memorial Day and in the often uncertain times in which we live, may take sanctuary in remembering, in being with those we love and care about, and being surrounded by God’s very presence for sustaining strength.