This weekend, and today specifically, the United States recognizes Memorial Day. Originally known as “Declaration Day” its origins come from the years following the US Civil War which ended in 1865. After the war, American towns and cities began holding tributes in the spring to honor the thousands of soldiers who gave their lives fighting in the war. Over time this day of remembrance became known as Memorial Day, and in 1971 the day was officially recognized as a federal holiday to be held on the last Monday in May each year.
While the day is marked with parades, picnics and home town celebrations, the original thought was that on this day the country would solemnly remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to defend the values of this country.
Rather than lament how far from field this county has strayed from those values, I would rather be reminded what the core of values of this country are.
Filed July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence defines the values this way;
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
These core values recognize two timeless truths;
1. God is sovereign over all things created as He created all things,
2. And mankind has a responsibility to honor God and His view of mankind.
Perhaps the greatest commandment was on their mind, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind. Or the second, to love our neighbor as ourselves. (see Mt 22:37-40)
Recognizing that all mankind was created in the image of God by God, for God, to glorify God, places all of mankind on equal footing with one another. It is to their shame then that any should look down on another image bearer of God to dishonor them or fail to love them.
1 Peter 2:17 tells us this; “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.”
The core values of this country held to this truth as well.
Honor- respect all people, who were created equal, as image bearers of God.
Love- with true caring, compassion, dignity and respect.
Fear God- He alone is sovereign and able to build a nation up, or tear it down.
Honor the king- we are blessed to live in a land where freedom rings and tyrant emperors are forbidden by our laws.
Again, while it is easy to lament how perilously close this country has come to completely abandoning those core values – Today, take a few moments and thank God for the place and time that He has placed you.
I encourage you to take a moment and remember the thousands of men and women who have died defending and upholding the values of this country. Such that we have the rights and liberties that you and I are still enjoying today.
And as we pray for this nation, we can all pray knowing the end is already known.
“All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations.” Psalm 22:27-28
May God bless your day!