GLIMPSE OF GOD FOR MEMORIAL DAY 2023
As we look at Covid 19 in the rear-view mirror, with all the havoc that it has caused, I believe that we can now say, with greater ease because we have become a wiser people, that we have adjusted to our new normal, and are choosing to follow healthier habits, lifestyles, and practices.
But yet even with the great devastation that Covid19 caused, it still does not compare to what our veterans were faced with in war, or the killing of innocent people due to the gun violence in our communities, state and nation, and the mental illness that many are suffering, that is a contributing factor, leading to violence against others as well as in the rise of suicides. We must continue to pray for an end of the gun violence and the killing of our innocent young children and adults who are only trying to live their life safely.
Memorial Day is upon us, and the reason for remembering this day in a special way has not changed or lost its meaning, On Memorial Day we remember our Veterans, past and present, who selflessly chose to serve their country so that others could enjoy what it means to be a free people, a people that do not have to live in fear, but peace. As we grow farther away from the fear of getting covid 19 because we and our loved ones have received the vaccine, and its booster shots. These past 3 years, are days, weeks, and months that people of all ages, all social status, all education levels, all economic and political levels will recall with profound and transforming memories. The impact of Covid19 has challenged and effected all ages, from the youngest to the oldest, from the child in daycare to the parent in skilled nursing care, from the infant just born to the parent that just died.
Our global community is carrying this cross of suffering and death because of the rise of gun violence, opioid addictions, unending mass shootings as well as the murders that occur every day in our cities, state, and country. I believe that it has been through that collective cross that we are all carrying, that we have become more united as a world, nation, state, community, neighborhood, church, and family. But even as we look into the faces of these various deadly situations, we can choose to open our eyes and face it or close our eyes and complain about it. We can become a force to be reckoned with or a force that we bow to. We are fighting a war that we need to be prepared for and want to win. We want to fight for our health and the health and wellbeing of those we love, those we encounter and even the stranger.
We want to rediscover what peace, freedom, and warm embraces are amid our new normal. So how is rise in gun violence, the mass shootings, suicides, overdoses, and the wars that our veterans have fought similar?
We are all fighting a war, the war to stay alive, stay healthy and keep our children safe. We are asked to remember and pray for those who have lost their life due to gun violence, opioid addiction and drug overdoses, and suicide. All of this affords us the opportunity to recognize that in the hearts of the men and women who bravely chose to serve our country that their choice was rooted in a deep love for God, country, and their fellow human being. There was and is a presence of selfless, self-emptying, giving and a sacrificial love and heart where God dwells and strengthens them to give all that they have for the safety, good and wellbeing of another, from those they know to the complete stranger. Our doctors, nurses, medical staff, EMTs, fire and police, are those war veterans who are fighting for the health, wellbeing, and safety of others. There too is a presence of a selfless, emptying, giving and sacrificial love that goes beyond any ego, selfishness, self-centeredness that could take root. They are all facing the unimaginable death and grief as they see those they know and don’t know pass before them, whether it is from a virus or from gun violence. God is the one and only author of life and death and yet many have taken that role in their own hands and have taken the life of another as if the other doesn’t matter, or they are insignificant, or because they can’t control their own illness and it gets the best of them in the worst way.
The Veterans, our heroes, that fought and continue to fight for our country, and for the peace and freedom of others in our global community, gave and continue to give of themselves completely and are willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice for what they believe and are fighting for. They have watched their comrades fall and could only hold their hand and speak words of peace, job well done and surrendered them to their God.
They have lifted up those who were wounded from gun and mortar shots and the pain that wrenched through their bodies, and they have had to rescue those who were in the grips of the enemy. In a different way, our front-line heroes are doing the same. They have watched their comrades fall to the opioid and drug overdoses and gun violence, with only their hand to hold as they closed their eyes, Our heroes, both our Veterans and those on the front line, have had to endure the face of death yesterday, today and for many tomorrows to come.
Our Veterans suffered and died for their country. Country is not just a word, but they suffered and died for humanity no matter who they were or where they lived. They deserve our gratitude, our thanks, our recognition, and our prayers. When they came home, they may have come home to a hero’s welcome, but that didn’t take away the pain of their memories and the suffering that they experienced and will continue to experience physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. Our Veterans gave of themselves completely. They fought and continue to fight for the causes of life, liberty, peace, and security.
If you ask a Veteran if they ever expected to face such a war in their own back yard, in their families, their community, their nation and their world, I will venture to say they would not have. This is a war where men and woman are not just in camouflage searching out the enemy, but also medical scrubs and masks, that rifles and guns are needing to be used to kill the enemy, as well as proactive testing, social distancing, proper sanitizing procedures, facial covering and vaccines, bullet proof vests, SWAT gear, a race against time, and where we are not just hearing about it in the media, but living out in our everyday lives.
With combat in war, gun violence and opioid and drug overdoses, the effects are all devastating because the bottom and most critical line is that human life is being taken away. People are dying at the hands of others, wars continue out of a need for and to control, the devastating opioid addiction and drug overdoses that continue to take lives, families are broken, fear is paramount as the violence against each other rises, the morale of the people is exceptionally low, and the grief is on a monumental level.
But where do we go from here? We go with our Veterans with a greater determination to fight, live life with gratitude, and seek strength from each other, from our God, and from within especially when life’s cross gets heavy and seemingly unbearable. As our Veterans did and continue to do, we seek the courage to fight when we feel we are without fight, we seek the strength to carry this cross when we feel fed up, we resolve to defeat the enemy and not be defeated by it so that we come out as victors and not victims.
So… as we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day, let us be mindful of how this day came about and let us pray for those who we are called to remember, our military past and present, that selflessly sacrificed and continue to do so for the good of others. Let us close our eyes and see that through their faith, courage, and determination, we are free and know what peace is. Let us pray that they know and believe in their hearts that they have done and continue to do the best that they could to be their best self, the person that God created them to be and have the potential to become.
If you are looking for Glimpse of God, seek out, talk to a Veteran, an active-duty member, a reservist, and listen to their story, learn from their wisdom and experience, and discover the God that called them, sustained them, and loved them through the most difficult period and time of their life. Their time, their sacrifice, their love for God and others, all formed them to be the selfless and courageous person that they are today. We all need examples of faith, hope and charity. We can find it in those who served and are serving our country, the family members, close friends, neighbors and all other soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who support the home front while their loved ones are deployed far away. Our military, both active duty and reservists, are a Glimpse of God. Family, friends, and supporters are big glimpses of God, so where do you fit in?
Take each day this week to remember and pray for the Veterans who fought for us and those in the military who are fighting for us now. May the week ahead not make us weak in spirit or our desire to fight, may the days ahead not put us into a daze where we choose to ignore our health and well bring and the health and wellbeing of others, may the hours in each day remind us that the day is ours and we can choose to live life to the fullest despite our limitations, may each minute remind us that nothing or no one is minute in the sight of God, and may each second offer us the opportunity to be the breath of God, where each second counts, and not wait to make that our second choice.
Duty, Honor, and Commitment…..We all have the duty to honor our commitment to serve God, be our best self and help others to become their best self. This war is an internal one where the devil seeks to take us away from our duty, our honor and our commitment and bring us to a place where we serve him and not our God or our fellow man. We become less committed to becoming our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become. You can win that war one battle at a time, one prayer and one act of surrender to God, at a time.