This coming Memorial Day, thousands of churches will pay tribute to our country’s fallen heroes, recognizing the liberties and freedoms we enjoy, and remembering the brave men and women who have given their lives for our country. Memorial Day is focused upon those who have fallen in the service of our country, but at the same time it is an opportunity to focus on Christ. Here are five ways to observe Memorial Day, and bring honor to the King of kings and Lord of lords.
1. Explain the peace that will one day be ours.
Those who have given their life for our country have experienced the tragic bloodshed that conflict brings. Our world is rocked by strife and division. But one day there will be peace. The author of that peace is Jesus himself, who is described in Scripture as the Prince of peace. Memorial Day recognizes the valor of those in military combat, but a day is coming when we will live in a time of unparalleled peace, brought about by King Jesus.
2. Draw attention to the ultimate glory that believers will one day receive.
It is only right that we remember our nation’s military heroes, both past and present. During your Memorial Day observance, it is a wonderful idea to publicly recognize and thank those men and women who are involved in the service of country. Give them honor. In doing so, remind people that one day all believers will receive honor for their service. Although not all of us will enlist in the armed forces of our country, we will nonetheless hear the “well done,” from Jesus. This is another opportunity to glorify Christ during Memorial Day.
3. Explore the parallels between physical military involvement and spiritual combat.
Ephesians 6 reminds us that our ultimate conflict on earth is not between flesh and blood; we engage in spiritual warfare. As we remember this world’s conflict and the bravery of those who have defended our freedom, let us also remember the spiritual battles that every believers must fight. As we engage in spiritual warfare, we have our commander in chief with us. “The armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev 19:14-18). Let us praise this King of kings, in whose army we fight.
4. Show true gratitude.
Memorial Day is at its core about expressing gratitude for those who have fallen in the service of our country. After the death of thousands of soldiers following the Civil War, our country’s leaders instituted this as day to remember, in solemnity and heartfelt gratitude, the ultimate price that was paid. As you commemorate this day, be thankful. Show true gratitude. As believers, true gratitude ultimately directs to God. As you remember those who have fallen, praise Jesus for how he has shown us true love and sacrifice, and taught us what real freedom is.
5. Exalt the one who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
We hold the deepest gratitude for the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who have given their lives over the ages, defending our freedoms and families. As we remember them, let us also remain aware that Jesus, too, gave the ultimate sacrifice. He laid down his life to secure a freedom which transcends any earthly freedom. Jesus gave his life to gain spiritual victory over sin, death, and hell. Memorial Day gives us a chance to praise our Lord for the price he paid, and the triumph he secured.
As you commemorate our fallen heroes this year, take the opportunity to remember the day’s significance while also honoring Christ.