I would like to start by thanking all the men and women who are currently giving all they have in order to protect our freedoms in the armed services. I would also like to say “Thank you” to all the family members who have lost loved ones while serving our country.

It is unclear where exactly this tradition originated; numerous different communities may have independently initiated the memorial gatherings. “Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo—which had first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866—was chosen because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags. On May 5, 1862, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month and named it Decoration Day. Many Northern states held similar commemorative events and reprised the tradition in subsequent years; by 1890 each one had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Many Southern states, on the other hand, continued to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I.

Yesterday was a day of remembrance. In Luke 17:32 Christ called his listeners to a memorial as well. A remembrance, not of heroics but of a mistake. Jesus said, “Remember Lots wife.” There is nothing this world has to offer that should draw our attention away from Christ. Nothing that we possess should be able to hold us back from going forward in our service for God. Lots wife had a strong affection and love for the things her world had to offer, so much so, it cost her her life. How about you? May our life reflect the words of the great missionary Jim Elliott: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”