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Memorial Day Sermon

 

Pastor Dave Peterson, Northland Assembly Church, Badger MN

Thank you for allowing me to share with you the message from the 2022 Badger Community Memorial Day Service. I hope it will be both challenging and inspiring for you.

Greetings and thank you for once again allowing me to speak at this most important ceremony. I am truly honored to have your trust.

Some of you know me. I bet most of you know of me, but let me introduce myself to you all. My name is Pastor David Peterson and I have the privilege to serve as Pastor at Northland Assembly here in Badger. However before I was Pastor Peterson, I was Staff Sergeant Peterson. I was blessed to have served in the Army and the California Army National Guard with a brief stop over in the Marines in the middle. No, I wasn't in the chaplaincy; in fact, I was in specialized infantry and long range recon patrol. I guess you can say that my life's mission has always been to introduce people to God – only the methods have changed.

Today we gather to remember, to look back and reflect on those who have sacrificed it all. It is good that we do this. In fact it is necessary to occasionally look back at where we have come from and reflect on the events and people that have shaped our history.

Here we look back on 56 names that have shaped someones history. 56 men that were sons – brothers – fathers and friends. Men who made an impact far before their names were forever etched into history.

Men who woke up, put on their fatigues or dungarees, laced up their boots, threw on their helmet, grabbed their rucksack in one hand and their weapon in the other never knowing that that day would be their last day.

So we gather here to remember them. As I stated earlier, this is a good thing we do but if we never allow what they did then to form our today and ultimately change our tomorrow, then what they did was in vain. I know those are harsh words for some, but it is reality.

I ask you, what good is all this ceremony and remembering if we do not allow it to change us. Honestly, are we here to make a difference or are we just out marking time? Hard questions I know, but look around you, we are living in hard times. The world today is vastly different than it was just last Memorial Day.

So as we gather today to remember 56 names from our past, we CANNOT forget 19 names from our present.

You see last week 19 little boys and girls woke up, put on their shorts, laced up their tennis shoes, threw on their favorite ball cap, grabbed their backpack in one hand and their pencils in the other never knowing that that day would be their last day.

I ask you again, what good is all this ceremony and remembering if we do not allow it to change us.

I submit to you that just as the 56 names we remember today have impacted history, we too can impact history with what we determine today. What will we do with what they have done? Will we intentionally engage our culture for change or will we be satisfied with 60 minutes of reflection on the last Monday of May then return to life as usual. Uvalde, Texas should remind us that the stakes are too high to do nothing.

I am reminded of a passage of scripture that takes place on another Memorial Day, Good Friday. Jesus is carrying His cross and He falls down. The gospels record a man named Simon of Cyrenne picked up the cross and assisted Jesus. Mark's gospel even gives us the names of Simon's two sons and one of their names is Rufus.

I know you are thinking "what in the world does this have to do with anything I have said thus far?"

Well in the Apostle Paul's letter to the church in Rome, he reminds them about a young champion of the faith named, you guessed it, Rufus. I cannot help but wonder if what Simon did on that day impacted what Rufus would become.

Imagine that. The actions you and I take today can have a lasting impact on generations to come. Simply put – What you do today can change someones tomorrow.

What will you do this day? Will you allow this day to change you and then change others or will it be business as usual?

This may get me uninvited next year but I would not be walking worthy of my calling if I did not give you the opportunity to change your today and secure your tomorrow.

I will do that by asking you one final but most important question: DO YOU KNOW JESUS?

Notice I did not ask

-Do you go to church?

-Have you been baptized?

-Have you been confirmed?

-Have you had first communion?

-Do you speak in tongues?

-Are you a good person?

No I asked if you KNEW Jesus. It is only through a close personal relationship with Him that your life can truly change and your tomorrow be secure.

I do not know the hearts of the 56 men we remember today but I do believe that wherever their spirit has rested they are asking each of you the same question. Do you know Jesus?

So let us make this Memorial Day the day that we stood up for change. Let us make this Memorial Day the day that Jesus changed everything for us and for generations to come.

Thank you and God Bless. Let's pray.

 

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