In today’s Gospel story, Jesus heals a centurion’s slave. A centurion was a soldier in the days of Jesus. When Jesus learned about the centurion, Jesus was amazed by the faith he had.
The centurion sent friends to Jesus to say, "Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed…” When Jesus heard this he said, "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith..."
Today we remember the faithful soldier of Jesus day, who had faith in Jesus that he could heal his servant (and Jesus did!). We are called to do the same, to believe in Jesus & to trust in his healing in our lives…
And today is the perfect day to do this, because….
Memorial Day – when we honor and remember the men and women who faithfully served this country and died in that service in one of our wars.
The holiday got started as Decoration Day on May 30, 1868, when General John Logan declared the day an occasion to decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers. Twenty years later, the name was changed to Memorial Day.
On May 11, 1950, Congress passed a resolution requesting that the President issue a proclamation calling on Americans to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer. (President Eisenhower did & this proclamation has taken place ever since)
May 30, 2016, is a day of prayer for permanent peace, and at 11:00 a.m. of that day as a time during which people may unite in prayer and to observe the National Moment of Remembrance beginning at 3:00 p.m. on Memorial Day.
President Nixon declared Memorial Day a federal holiday in 1971. Memorial Day is now observed on the last Monday of May.
It is customary to mark Memorial Day weekend by visiting graveyards and war monuments. We have our parade today at 2 PM and do you know where the parade ends? At our war monuments at the Green. There is a ceremony held there at the conclusion of the parade to commemorate those who died in those wars and who came from our town of Monroe.
Let us pray for peace…
O God, you desire to enfold both heaven and earth in a single peace; Let the design of your great love lighten upon the waste of our angers and sorrows; and give peace to your church, peace among nations, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Follow up with the adults…
I was recently looking at pictures from Iwo Jima – a battle of the pacific near the end of WW II.
One picture from the many that Joe Rosenthal of the AP took (he is best known for the picture of U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, raising the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima) caught my eye.
The photo shows U.S. Marines receiving communion from a Marine chaplain on Iwo Jima, the largest of the Japanese Volcano Islands, on March 3, 1945.
In the midst of war, of death, of fighting to take a strategic island, the picture shows faithful soldiers taking communion from a chaplain.
The picture seems appropriate for today…
· When we remember a faithful soldier from the days of Jesus
· When we remember the faithful soldiers who died for this country
· When we take communion and remember Jesus gifts to us
Today let us thank God for what God has given into our lives as we take communion and like that centurion said long ago, may we say faithfully today:
O Lord, I am not worthy to receive you under my roof, but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed. Amen.