“Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4
Leading up to Memorial Day Weekend at FCC, I’m usually frantically trying to find the lower “C” chime for Sunday’s service. We ring it after the reading of each name of our FCC family that had died in the past year. It is hard to believe that only a year ago we held those funerals in our sanctuary. It was just a year ago that we gathered in our pews and sang songs of hope in the midst of deep grief. A year ago that we could hold another as they wept. Today I am praying for each and every one of our families. The first year of losing someone is full of “firsts.” First birthdays, holidays, and death anniversaries hold a flood of memories and new realities that are difficult to face. Many brave families face those now in isolation from their churches and friends who usually sustain them. To you brave spirits, know we see your pain. We see your courage.
This weekend our country celebrates Memorial day. The word celebrate seems so foreign, so, almost inappropriate when we are thinking of death from war. We do not celebrate war. We do not celebrate the destruction and loss of life it leaves behind. In the ways we usually mark the day, that could be celebratory, we are not able to engage in; there are no parades or barbeques with family or friends or church ice cream socials. Especially on this Memorial Day 2020, may we find a way to honor those who have served. Maybe celebrate isn’t the word we can muster, but words like respect, integrity, sacrifice, and honor are ones that describe the gratitude we have for those who have served and fought and lost their lives. May we pray for all those whose bodies and minds and spirits bear the marks of war. For all those whose wounds are not yet healed. May the gospel of comfort and peace, Jesus’ victory over death and promise of everlasting life, may the Spirit that makes us whole be poured into those wounds and those places of grief.
Whether you are part of our FCC family who is remembering their loved one this weekend, or you are remembering and honoring a loved one who is a part of our armed forces, may you find ways to lift up the spirit of those we lost and may you sense the comfort of God and the support of your faith community who sees this pain.
Prayer: God, continue to guide with your wisdom and with your compassion all who serve. Through them, may their gifts be used to protect life and justice in places where it is threatened. May we honor those who have come before us through how we live out their legacy now; may we give generously, love recklessly, serve selflessly, forgive easily, and hope audaciously. In Jesus’s name we pray, amen.