Ask Pastor Adrienne column: Memorial Day message
Memorial Day is a time of reflection. Do you think we’re getting the message?
A: Your question is mysterious and open-ended. Getting the message about what? About Memorial Day? About God? About death? Thank you for reminding us about an important day that is in danger, like so many, of being overlooked and under-emphasized due to the world’s concern with a virus.
Memorial Day is a time to remember, reflect and celebrate those people who gave their lives for America’s freedom. It is also a day to honor loved ones who have gone before us, paving the way for our family’s futures; built our communities and changed history so that we could participate in the success of the best nation in the world. Frankly, with our country in disarray over closures, bans and distancing, it’ll be a much-needed relief to walk the broad swaths of cemetery acreage for fresh air, open space and thinking.
The main message in times like these is usually, “Where is God?” God has never left his throne, nor abandoned his people. “Be strong, courageous, and firm; fear not nor be in terror before them, for it is the Lord your God Who goes with you; He will not fail you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6, AMPC).
Are we receiving the message God is speaking? Many of us are. We are focused more on God than ever before. We’re seeking him, asking questions and finding ourselves paying much more attention to faith. We’re finally listening and waiting to hear his good news. God has allowed us a time of trial for refinement and focus. He does this sometimes because he loves his Church and his people too much to allow mediocrity to continue. The Church of Jesus Christ is not something to be reduced to a social outlet or religious habit. God has pulled the plug on those shallow versions of faith and gotten our attention. The old adage is true: we don’t appreciate a thing until it’s gone. Church participation has suddenly become a priceless part of our lives and an important need. For that reminder, we must thank God. As we struggle with faithful participation if and when the church doors open, we’ll find a change is in the air. No more playing church. Worship will soundly replace the ritual as the Body of Christ returns to their sanctuaries as an appreciative, gracious, thankful group of people once again.
To others, the non-church attenders, spotty-committers or avoiders altogether, the subject of church attendance will go one of two ways: folks will either decide to join the pew-sharing believers or they will remain outside the gates. People who sat on the fence are now climbing down while the whole earth is shaken and they have seen their need for Christ. They are considering the idea that the gods they’ve served may not save them from the God who holds the world in his hands. Some will decide it’s time to meet the savior. Their priorities are reshuffling.
Sadly, there will yet be those, the scoffers, whose journey through pandemic did nothing at all to draw them into the Kingdom of God. They remain in outer darkness, pitiful skeptics whose rationale for dismissing Christian church culture is rooted in their delusion as the center of the universe. They came into the pandemic with nothing by way of a spiritual foundation, and they will not be coerced to receive one. “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:29, 30, NASB). Jesus was talking about the grotesque end that unbelief will bring to people. Eternal separation. Crying. And pain.
It is my prayer that we all get the message God is broadcasting to us, both corporately and individually. Make no mistake, this time of global change is meant to change us. We are being transformed into a better version of who we were before.
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