/ Memorial Day / Kit Swartz


Memorial Day proceedings were held at Veteran’s Park in Oswego, NY with a modest crowd in attendance.  A local men’s chorus sang patriotic songs.  Veterans performed ceremonies in remembrance of those who served in our military, especially those who died in war.  Local trumpeters played taps.  Various dignitaries spoke, all exhorting us to enjoy the traditional beginning of summer but to make a special effort to remember our veterans and their families.

What does it mean to “remember”?  It is more than a mere thought or even a lengthy meditation.  Remembering is a purposeful bringing to mind in order to take relevant action.  God remembered Noah and brought him out of the flood.  God remembered Abraham and saved his nephew Lot from the destruction of Sodom.  God remembered Rachel and gave her a child.  God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and brought their descendants out of Egypt and into the promised land.  We remember God’s testimonies to His mighty deeds and believe them.  We remember His promises and hope in them.  We remember His commandments and obey them.  By His death, Jesus Christ gave us freedom from Satan, sin and death.  His death must be remembered most of all.  We remember His death, most especially, in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper and, in Him, we take the relevant actions of putting on His righteousness (bread) and putting off our sins (cup).  Remembering is a purposeful bringing to mind in order to take relevant action. 

Our local dignitaries speaking this morning understood this meaning of remembrance and urged us to take relevant action by earnestly thanking our living veterans along with those in active military service and those in other uniformed service.  We were also urged to care for the family members of those who have someone on active duty or even lost a loved one in war-time service.  The conclusion of Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address exhorts us in this duty with great eloquence: “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”  Let us likewise be good stewards of our freedoms preserved for us at such great cost. 

We should also remember those who serve us as living sacrifices in our churches.  This includes, particularly, our Pastors who give their lives for us in prayer and the ministry of the word, our Ruling Elders who diligently watch over us and our Deacons and Deaconesses who faithfully meet our pressing needs.  “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God.  Consider the outcome of their way of life, and” with relevant action, “imitate their faith.” (Hebrews 13:7).

Kit Swartz, Teaching Elder Emeritus (RPC Oswego)