Sermons by Pastor Walter Snyder plus announcements, articles, videos, and anything else that doesn’t fit Ask the Pastor or the Luther Library.

24 April 2009

In Loving Memory

May Holy Cross Newsletter Article

Arlington National CemeteryNear the end of May, many of us will gather flags and flowers, head out to various cemeteries, and decorate the graves of our loved ones. We’ve become participants in an observance that started as a tribute to the Union war dead. From there, we began memorializing other veterans and then extended the remembrance to all our departed family and friends.

Memory is powerful as it motivates and guides all manner of thoughts and deeds. It saddens us to remember better times yet encourages us when we recall how bad things used to be. It emboldens those seeking justice or revenge: “Remember the Alamo!” It tempers the actions of those who recollect the mistakes of bygone years: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. (George Santayana)”

Memory is also selective, even fickle. We don’t remember all things equally. We remember our first dog’s name but forget where we lay phone, glasses, or keys. After 40 or more years we can picture one grade school teacher clearly while not even remembering the name of another. Most terrifying: We can lose our memories, never to gain them again! (See Remembering and Forgetting: Christians with Alzheimer’s Disease.)

So much of what we remember about people depends upon our relationships with them. Also, time usually erases the bad memories more quickly than the good. Of course, if we choose to continue a grudge, the opposite holds true — we forget the good and emphasize the bad.

Because our memories depend so much on fickle emotion and distracted minds, we may not appreciate God’s perfect memory. We pray, “Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. (Psalm 25:6)” This doesn’t mean that God could ever forget us. Whenever God “remembers,” He does so with intent to act.

Every day is God’s “Memorial Day.” He daily “remembers” that Jesus died to save us and forgives our sins on His behalf. Because He can never forget Christ’s all availing sacrifice, He hears and answers when you pray: “Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me ... O Lord! (Psalm 25:7)”

Yet even as He chooses to remember His children in mercy, God also chooses to forget. He says of those who believe in Him, “I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:34)”

In response, should we not also make every day Memorial Day? Because He remembers you, shouldn’t you then “remember the deeds of the Lord (Psalm 77:11)” and thank Him for His love?

In Christ,
Pastor Snyder

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