By Rev. Doug Rokke American Lutheran Church, La Porte City
“So these stones shall be to the Israelites a memorial forever” ~ Joshua 4:7 NRSV
A memorial is a physical sign that functions as a reminder of an object or event. And so when Joshua led the people across the Jordan to the promised land he had them set up twelve stones as a memorial. In this case Joshua wanted the people who came after him to remember what they had happened at that place. He said that when their children asked what the stones were for, they could tell the story. On one hand it be the story of the people and their entrance into the promised land. But more importantly it was a story of how God had led them through the wilderness and into the promised land.
This weekend and Monday we will celebrate Memorial Day. Some return to the graves and the gravestones of family members and friends. Many places will have a service to honor those men and women who have served their country. It is a time when we will pause to remember the many stories of people and the events that surrounded their lives, their service, and in some cases how they gave their lives in service of our nation.
For Christians it is also a time when we remember what God has done. It is a time to give thanks to God for all those people He gave us to know and love in our time on earth. And it is a time we can give thanks for him sending his son to die on a cross and rise victorious. Finally it is a time to give thanks for the salvation won on that cross. Because of what God did through Jesus we have the hope and promise of entering that new promised land forever. And then we will be united with all those people we remember once again. Have a great Memorial Weekend!