I myself am not a warrior. I came to adulthood in the eight year period from 1972-1980 when there was no requirement to register with the Selective Service System. Growing up, my memories of Memorial Day are all about the annual Memorial Day parade and Apple Blossom Festival in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. In reflecting on what Memorial Day means to me I have thought about the non-military battles I have been part of - on sports teams, with community leaders, with family and friends against the enemies of poverty, loneliness, disease and grief and depression. Perhaps something from those experiences is transferable to the meaning of Memorial Day. In my experience the win and loss record made little difference after the campaign ended. The lasting value of every campaign was in the friendships forged on the field of action, in the devotion shared and the courage found to compete even against far more powerful opponents.
The battle for faith can seem to be impossible at times. There are moments when I wonder if the effort is worth it, when I doubt even the possibility of success. But I have never doubted the value of standing with the people who are willing to keep standing up for the love of God, courageous friends who show up to teach and minister and reach out to shape a future closer to the justice and love of God.
This Sunday we are blessed to welcome Frances and Logan onto the side of Christ, to take the field with us. We celebrate our friend Mike Moore who has been showing up at the table of Christ with the people of Christ for fifty years as an ordained minister. I will keep in mind and give thanks for those who gave their lives for our liberty, and who continue to enter harms way for us. And I will also remember and give thanks for the devotion and friendship of my extended family in the household of God, the living and the dead, old and new companions on the side of Christ. The knowledge and memory of your companionship gives me courage to keep showing up and standing up for a future that is closer to the love and justice of God.