By Rev. Junior W. Wimbush,
Pastor, Antioch Christian Church (D.O.C.);
Life resident of Woolwine, Virginia
Memorial Day has many definitions. One person may look at it as a day off from work; another may see it as a time to reflect. Others may consider it a time of celebration by attending parades or a time to cook-out and have friends and family over, while others may consider it a solemn occasion by visiting gravesites.
As for me, I think of those who have gone on to Glory and things they may have said or done; I consider Memorial Day as a time of reflection, and I remember the sacrifices and contributions of people who have been laid to rest.
My wife, oldest son, daughter, and I have what my daughter calls, “porch conversations.” At times, my middle granddaughter and her husband will join us. These gatherings are informal and unscheduled. We talk about things that happened while growing up: food, church, and the list goes on. I recall on one occasion we were talking about food. My mind went back to my mother preparing ‘hoe cake,’ a type of homemade bread with a shape that can be round, oblong, or whatever comes out. Whatever shape it may have been, it was delicious. Good old pinto beans. Beans cooked on a wood stove; you talk about good! They were good. I have shared experiences of my life ... being a juke joint owner, working in the furniture factory, living through discrimination, and being served from the back of a restaurant; not being allowed to enter the building, hauling homemade beverages, logging, and farming.
We talk about things of today, such as politics, building of churches, CNN news. On occasion, my children poke fun at one another, and we all laugh. We remember and we reflect. As I think now, my mind goes to the portion of scripture where Jesus is at the table with his Disciples. They are sharing the Last Supper. Go with me to the Book of Luke, Chapter 22, beginning at the 18th verse (New King James Version).
“For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:18-20).
Jesus is sharing with the Disciples that each time they gather and partake of the Holy Communion or Holy Eucharist, do so in remembrance of Him. Subtly, He is encouraging the Disciples to often remember the events that would be coming, the torture, the breaking of His body, the blood that would flow from His body, His earthly death and resurrection; remember these things. He is encouraging His disciples to remember the things He taught them, the miracles He performed, how to pray, how to teach, how to live and how to treat one another. He is encouraging the Disciples to not forget the sacrifice (His life for the remission of our sins, His Father giving His only son as Lamb for the slaughter and having to turn from him as he hung on the cross and cried out, Father, why have you forsaken me?). He is encouraging His Disciples to reflect and remember and as they do so, continue with the mission and command to “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
As you go through this Memorial Day week and observing it however you choose, I encourage you to reflect on the one who gave His life that we could not only live again but also reign with Him in Heaven. As you think of your loved ones who have passed, think of the Son of Man, Jesus, who died so that we may live. As you place wreaths on the graves of family members, remember the grave that could not hold the Savior, Jesus. As you remember the fallen heroes, military and first responders, remember the FIRST, first responder, Jesus, the One who God sent because He loved us so much that He didn’t want to see us lost in a dying world.
May God bless you according to His riches in Heaven and may all your days be Memorial Day.