Commemoration through demonstration
Because Memorial Day honors America's war dead, it solemnly reminds us that resorting to weapons to settle national differences exacts an incalculable long-range toll. But Memorial Day was not appointed to perpetuate grief or to promote fear. It invites us to acknowledge the sacrifices of those who unselfishly put the defense of liberty, justice, and equality above their human lives.
Many of us will never fight in a war. But whoever assumes that such a fact exempts him or her from life-or-death struggles may need to learn more about scriptural teaching. We each have a choice to make every moment between material-mindedness and spirituality, between inanity and divine purposefulness, between mortality and immortality. Which shall it be: mental laziness and moral deadness, or spiritual aliveness?
The Apostle Paul insisted, "This mortal must put on immortality." n1 How do we do this? The ultimate answer was given by Christ Jesus: "Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." n2
n1 I Corinthians 15:53;
n2 John 11:26;
Living in accord with Christ Jesus' example demands wholehearted Christian soldiering. Under constant threat to his life, he taught that God, his heavenly Father and ours, is the only good there is. Jesus demonstrated in his healing works that all men and women can and should claim the blessings of physical and mental liberty from evil.
Commenting on the need for conspicuous bravery in defending the moral and spiritual ideals of Christianity, Mary Baker Eddy n3 writes: "Be watchful, sober , and vigilant. The way is straight and narrow, which leads to the understanding that God is the only Life. It is a warfare with the flesh, in which we must conquer sin, sickness, and death, either here or hereafter, -- certainly before we can reach the goal of Spirit, or life in God." n4
n3 Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science;
n4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 324.
We must not waffle about our duty. We either wallow in self-pity and bitterness, waste in indifference, or we war with the flesh. However faithless or faithful we have been to our post of Christian warfare as sentry over our thoughts and deeds, we can take heart by remembering that others have withstood more, persisted longer, and won the goal of dominion over mortal selfhood.
Whenever and wherever anyone, anywhere, loves spiritual liberty more than mortal life, he is no more an unknown soldier but a glorious Christian victor over fear, despotism, and death itself.
Each individual's life has all-inclusive purpose. Every stand we take for moral courage and spiritual strength represents a step of progress in further reducing the sum total of belief in something apart from God. Each identification with immortality counts toward the realization of the heaven of divine Life, universal Love, real Truth, on earth.
Memorial Day can be more than a superficial ceremony. It can be an occasion for Christly comfort, for exploring the possibilities of expressing our true, immortal identity by obeying one all-loving God in every circumstance. We can answer today's call to battle prayerfully; we can fight with Christly power the disagreement and hostility in our families and communities. Warfare is overcome in inward, individual skirmishes with self and sin; the victories we win all add up to international brotherhood and peace.
When we practice Christianity by ennobling our own thoughts and deeds, we hallow all noble thoughts and deeds. Through demonstration, we commemorate the true meaning of Memorial Day. Then Memorial Day will become for us an Immemorial Day, "extending," according to the Webster definition of "immemorial, " "beyond the reach of memory, record, or tradition." DAILY BIBLE VERSE Death can not celebrate thee. Isaiah 38:18