Reflection – The
following reflection was passed along to me, with the encouragement to ‘freely’
share it. The author is anonymous.

As I reflect on the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, it has taken on additional meaning for me during this COVID-19 pandemic. It is so easy to take for granted the day-in and day-out freedom we enjoy as Americans during normal times, but for the first time for many of us, we have been restricted to our homes, an occasional grocery trip, and possibly a daily commute to and from work. Everything else that is so characteristic of our lives has gone on hold.


I used to work with someone who came from a Communist nation and became a United States citizen. He would tell me that I did not know what it is like to live as a caged animal where you were not free to live your life without significant restrictions. Looking at our current situation, we are experiencing more cage than we likely ever expected, and this is leading to varying degrees of growing distress and unrest throughout our country. If anything, our current season is a vivid example of just how precious freedom really is to us, for many around the world have never experienced what we so naturally take for granted, as my coworker wanted to point out to me.


But our freedom has never been free, and we must never lose sight of that fact. Memorial Day was designated as a day of remembrance to ensure we annually reflect on the great cost paid by those who gave their lives for our freedom. Freedom is such a gift, and when it is
diminished as it has been with COVID-19, the loss is dramatically obvious. During this unique period, we have been told where we can and can’t go, and what we can and can’t do. Just one vivid example of this restriction has been the loss of the ability to physically get together with family to celebrate or grieve as the situation might dictate during more normal times. Many have conveyed to me the emotional pain associated with this restriction.


That is why I think this year, perhaps more than in other years, it is important to spend Memorial Day reflecting on what the day is really about—a somber reminder of the price that has been paid by some of our fellow citizens so that we can live free. While you can find
various statistics on lives lost, I would ask that we all reflect on just one of those statistics: More than 656,000 service members have laid down their lives on the battlefield to defend our freedom. Not one of them took freedom for granted; in fact, they made the ultimate sacrifice for it and for us.


COVID-19 has given us a taste of what a loss of freedom means to our lives. We wake up each day now looking for this temporary loss to be over, longing to get back to what we consider normal. But without a strong defense of our nation, a loss of freedom could be permanent—it should not and must not be taken for granted. Servicemen and women in the past have given up their very lives for our freedom, and we must never, never forget
them. That is the essence of Memorial Day, and may we not only honor them on this day but every day through the work we do for our nation. It is up to us to do everything possible to ensure that what they were willing to die for, we are willing to give our very best to preserve.


Prayer – (This
prayer is a re-rerun from Friday. I was going to offer a new one, but I think
this is worth repeating)

God who treasures every one of us, as we move into this
Memorial Day weekend,

…We pray for those who left family and community to defend
their country and gave their life for us. We honor their sacrifice and pray for
healing for their friends and family….

…We pray for those who left family and community to defend
their country and returned home, but have now passed. Again, we honor their
sacrifice and pray for healing for their friends and family.

…We pray for those military families who suffered under the
consequences of war and service, being away from the men and women who were
part of their family but called to serve their country. We pray for their
comfort, strength and healing.

…We pray for all of us, that the day may come when, as Isaiah
prophesied, ‘the swords will be beaten into plowshares.’ As we draw near to
you, may we with greater conviction hear your call to treat all of humanity as
those you created, as those who Jesus gave his life for, as those who the Holy
Spirit calls to love God. May we come to a day where we all live as brothers
and sisters on this planet gently and majestically moving through time and

…We give you thanks for those who have passed from this life.
We know you will keep alive their memories in our hearts until we meet with
them again, face to face, in your divine presence. Amen.