The thief on the cross prayed the prayer for us all when he asked, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." We do not want to be forgotten. We do not want to be left behind or left out. We thirst to be known, recognized, and to be loved.
This weekend we remember those who have gone before us. The Memorial Day holiday began as a celebration called Decoration Day. It was a time to remember all the fallen in the Civil War. Some say the tradition of dinner on the grounds began with families gathering at cemeteries to honor the fallen. Dinner on the grounds is the term in the South for church or family reunions. In the North we say, "potluck." If you are Lutheran, one word will do "Jello." Memorial Day often includes remembering and barbecues. That is why they call Memorial Day weekend the start of summer. Memorial Day is still a time of remembering the loss of loved ones but it is also about life going on. Frederick Buechner said, "Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Do not be afraid."
Almost one year ago, terrible things did happen to all of us. We have shared together the devastation from an unprecedented flood. In the midst of devastation we are witnessing beautiful things. In places tulips are blooming, baby geese have made their appearance at Oak Park, Hope Village is providing volunteers to help rebuild needed housing, and the Mennonite relief team has worked tirelessly over this past year. These are signs of life and hope.
Rev. James Shackelford
Memorial Day may be a good time for us to remember our losses but also to resolve to not be afraid. We are still celebrating the Easter season that tells us that Christ has remembered us. We are not forgotten and we are not alone. Now is the time to have dinner on the ground, share in neighborhood barbecues and celebrate what is still beautiful life.
A new season is upon us, it is time to remember life goes on. We need to resolve to do what we can to help one another. It may be in serving the folks at Hope Village or helping folks in your own neighborhood. I witnessed a gentleman removing a branch from the road so no other cars would run over it. I pick up nails when we walk and in parking lots to save a few flat tires. We can all do something that brings life and healing.
On this Memorial Day let us remember what Buechner said, "What's lost in life is nothing to what's found, and all the death that ever was, set next to life, would scarcely fill a cup."
Reflections, a mini-sermon written by Minot and area clergy, will appear each Saturday in The Minot Daily News. Clergy interested in writing a mini-sermon should contact Religion Editor Loretta Johnson at 857-1952 or Debbie Sandvold at 857-1950. The toll-free number is 1-800-735-3229.
This may be a good time to visit your local parish and take part in the most enduring memorial supper the Lord's Supper. It is there we will find all the death there ever was set next to life would barely fill a cup. Christ's cup overflows and we must not be afraid but profess that we believe "surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life."
Rev. James Shackelford is pastor of Grace Fellowship Church, Burlington.