It's Memorial Day here in the States. I know I probably should be barbecuing or something like that instead of writing. But I thought I would reflect on the nature of this weekend and something that struck me yesterday in church.
This is a day when we in the U.S. honor those who have given their lives to protect the freedoms that we enjoy. We were especially interested in the WWII Memorial that was dedicated yesterday. My father and father-in-law both served in WWII. My father-in-law was wounded. So it had a special interest for our family as for countless others.
I know that this happens all around the world at different times and under different names. Each country's patriotism and gratefulness for its fallen sons and daughters is played out each year. Ironically it is something we hold in common as a human family, even among enemies.
As Christians we hold an even greater event in common. Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday. It's the day we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit into the life of the Church. This is the day that the Church was given the power to be witnesses in the world. To endure persecution and suffering and even death for the faith was possible because the Spirit of Christ was now located in the hearts of God's people.
Pentecost is a little celebrated fact among evangelical Christians. Mostly it is simply another day. As I sat in worship I was aware that it is a more significant celebration and rememberance than any memorial to war. I know we should honor the Saints who went before us on All Saints Day in the fall. [I use the term "saints" to signify all faithful Christians, not a select few. If you want to see a visual expression of this see the tapestry in the new cathedral in L.A.] But on Pentecost, it is also a time to honor all those faithful servants of Christ who have gone before us, that have made faith real. They are the ones who have passed on a life-changing Spirit that transcends nations, ideologies, economics, and time.
This is a gift worth remembering and celebrating. Christians need to rise above nationalism, patriotism, ideologies and economic comforts, and join ourselves to the lives of the Saints (capitalized out of honor for even the smallest of saints). These lives were fueled by the passion of Jesus Christ for the salvation of the world, not just one group of people, or one country. May we see the faithful Saints of Christ as our heroes and hold them up as examples for all.
Just a random thought.