Dr. Andy Pate
The Orange Leader
In the United States we set aside special days of the year to remind us of persons and events important to us. Memorial Day on Monday is one such day, and not far behind in the near future will come Father’s Day on June 16th, then July the 4th.
In the wake of the devastating tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma this past Monday, Memorial Day 2013 has taken on added significance. Our cherished memories of the veterans who died that we might have life share our remembrance stage with the tornado victims. It is only right and good that we make this a very special Memorial Day. How can we do that?
There’s a full schedule around the country. Car racing fans will be centering on the Indy 500. And families across the nation will be making appropriate usage of the long weekend for rest, relaxation, cookouts and such. Many citizens will make visits to the cemeteries where veterans from their families are buried. Our national cemeteries will hold sacred observances.
But is there more we should do? Yes, quite definitely. More important than what we say and how we observe on this last weekend in May 2013 is how we live day by day hereafter. Will we honor those we memorialize in the quality of our living, or will we not? Our Christian faith asks that quite plainly and without equivocation.
“Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these. . . (Matthew 25:40),” meaning the children, the outcasts and the innocent, Jesus directed his followers.
Yes, he asked for remembrances in Holy Communion. But at the forefront of Jesus’ counsel was this directive about how disciples are to live. When we do for the least, when we truly love them, we do it “unto” Jesus, we really do remember him.
To remember well we must do well, live the good life.
Memorial Day 2013 extends to us a call to a New Life, to us, the American People. We have become mired in the mud and quicksand of political and religious debate. We adults have too often put our interests above those of our children, forgetting the precise reason the men and women who died in service to our country gave up their very lives. Consequently, we have chosen to live poorly too much of the time.
We can do better.