This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as an ordinance forever.
Christ is Risen!
Today’s verse from Exodus was told to Moses by God at the time of the Passover and exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. God told Moses that the Passover should be commemorated forever, so that every generation would remember this critical event in the history of their ancestors.
In marking Memorial Day this year, we should remember the sacrifices of men and women who have not only served our country, but who have given their lives in the service of our country. It takes a special person to knowingly step in the way of harm. It takes a special person to pack their life into a backpack, to leave the comfort and security of home, to go overseas, and to work every day, keenly aware that each day, even each hour, could be their last.
As the saying goes, “Freedom isn’t free.” I wouldn’t be sitting behind a computer, writing a reflection, with the freedom to express myself, without the sacrifice of the thousands upon thousands of soldiers who have fought and have died so that I and we can be free. In the middle of our family outings, and relaxing holiday, let us pause for a moment to remember them. Let’s pause for a moment to tell our children to remember them. Let us never forget them!
Heavenly Father, thank you for the sacrifices of those who have fought and died in defense of freedom, in defense of our country, in defense of the downtrodden of other countries. Receive their souls into Your heavenly kingdom and number them among the saints who have pleased You throughout the ages. Comfort their grieving families, especially those who have left behind children. Help them to know that their husband, their wife, their mom or dad, their son or daughter, died doing something noble. Bless all of the men and women who serve in our armed forces. Keep them safe and out of harm’s way. Lord we ask that You bring peace into areas of conflict, both in our country and overseas. Help us to preserve freedom. Help us to know that the ultimate freedom is found in our faith in You. As we celebrate Memorial Day, help us always to remember and to never forget those who died so that we can enjoy the freedoms we enjoy today. Amen.
God bless all of our troops, veterans, and all families who had laid a soldier to rest. God bless America!
Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website!
Fr. Stavros has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
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