This has been some sort of weekend! School has ended for the summer, we celebrated the arrival of Pentecost and John Wesley's experience at Aldersgate Street on Sunday, and today is Memorial Day when we remember all those who gave their lives for their country.
Students of all ages are excited that for the next 8 weeks they will not be "chained to desks" and not have any homework. But... be ready, because in a few days they will be bored. Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, the moment our faith was given a home and our hearts like Wesley's were strangely warmed, brings out the best in us as we give thanks for the Church. But... be ready, because in a short time we might be at each others' throats due to issues facing the Church. We pause to say "thank you" to the memory of the men and women who gave the greatest sacrifice, their very lives for our freedom, and it brings a lump to one's throat. But... be ready, because we will forget them by the next vacation day because a lot of this is all about us.
How did such powerful and life-changing events become about us? How can I be entertained? Does this red make me look fat? That's happening over there to them, but what matters is that I'm free to do what I want, and I want more BarBQ!
As pastors we must help our people (and ourselves) remember that life is not about us, but about Jesus Christ and serving His Kingdom. A whole summer to help our children find a place to give of themselves in service to Christ. A Sunday where we remember our gift of the Church and seek to keep our hearts aflame every day with the goodness of Christ for the Church and the world. A time to remember that the freedom we want so badly and take for granted so easily has been
given to us at the cost of a sister's or brother's life.
I know I am a kill-joy! I sure can take the fun out of the weekend, can't I ? But... I don't want us to forget the truest meaning behind this blessed weekend which we have just celebrated. Hopefully it will not be just a weekend, but a life we will continue to celebrate as we pastor for the One who created the seasons, who breathed life into our beloved United Methodist Church, and who called forth men and women to serve for freedom's sake.
I guess the title is correct "Memorial" ... REMEMBER weekend. I hope you have remembered and will always remember the grace of God that flows upon all.
I never forget your love and faithfulness to this call. Bless you and your family for warming my heart.