When Jesus and the apostles ate the last supper Christ instituted the ceremony that today we call, “communion.” There are two basic reasons we take communion today.
First is to remember Jesus and what He did for us on the cross. Christ said, “This do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). The second reason is for us to examine ourselves, take inventory of our souls and the life we live (1 Cor 11:28).
In America, Memorial Day is upon us. It is a day we set aside to remember all members of the military especially those that have fallen on the battlefield and other loved ones who have gone on before us.
There is an instance I remember with my dad. Dad fought in WWII; he was in the Pacific theater and spent most of his time in the Philippines. When this instance occurred dad was in his 80s; mom was in the hospital and dad and I were leaving after visiting her. Dad was wearing a ball cap that read, “WWII Veteran” as we were walking down the long corridor of the hospital. A doctor was walking in the opposite direction, as he past he said, “Thank you for your service.”
None of us stopped, there was no conversation, dad did say, “thank you” but by then the doctor was well past us.
When we reached the entrance area, dad sat in one of the chairs but before I went outside to get the car I noticed dad wiping a tear off his face. I told dad that mom was going to be okay, the he looked me in the face and said something I never expected, “Did you hear that doctor? He thanked me for what I did.”
Over the years, I would ask specifically, “What did you do?”
But the most he would ever tell me was that he spent time in the Philippines; he just would not talk about it. I was well into my 40s before dad ever told me he was a flamethrower. He gave me no description of what he did, no explanation. He understood I knew history well enough to realize what his job was. From his years of silence and job description; I’m pretty sure he killed a man or two.
Dad is gone now as are so many of America’s greatest generation. Give thanks to God and to all the men and women in uniform from the Revolutionary War to today for their courage and service. If you know a family that has someone currently serving overseas do something for them this weekend; invite them to the cookout, take them to the zoo, whatever, but something.
Well, I’ve gone through some personal memories of my father and his service to our great nation. Now let’s set back and do some examination. How are we doing as a country?
To examine ourselves we do need to look at both the good and the bad. I will do this, as I see it, looking at one category at the time, both the good and the bad.
The good: We are still the biggest kid on the block. There is no military larger than ours, our soldiers are the best trained and equipped in the world. Based solely on military strength no one comes close.
The bad: The respect that the world has for us is lower than anyone alive can remember. They doubt if we will back up our friends and if we will do anything even if provoked. Those outside the country believe we no longer act because of moral conviction; they believe we act because of political expediency.
The good: America is the most giving country in the world. When disaster strikes it is the American’s that are first on the scene with the tools and necessities to help.
The bad: many in America no longer believe that government assistance is something that should be temporary to help in the difficult times. The attitude has switched to one of entitlement for a lifetime.
The good: many claim to be religious or “spiritual” and there are more mega churches (churches with 5.000 of more in attendance) than ever before.
The bad: sin is rampant. Some of the sexual sins are honored and just about all the sex sins are consider normal and are commonplace in society. We continue to murder around a million unborn babies every year.
The list of good and bad can long continue beyond the space allotted here, but America remains the greatest place on earth. We are not perfect, we do have our problems; therefore, as a nation and as individuals, we need to remember and to examine.
Happy Memorial Day.
Preacher Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in northern Parke County Ind. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Blog:www.preacherjohnson.com.