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Memorial Day

This weekend we remember our fallen soldiers and the causes for which they fought. For some, Memorial Day is a day that signals the beginning of summer. BBQ, hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, baseball, ice cream, and going on vacation. But we can’t forget the true meaning of Memorial Day because for many it is a day of deep sorrow. A day that reminds us of the empty seat at the table - the father, mother, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, cousin, friend, co-worker who didn’t come home.


Memorial Day used to be called Decoration Day because the graves of fallen soldiers were decorated to honor them. It marks a time when we as a nation pause to remember and celebrate the lives of soldiers who have died in the line of duty. It’s a time of visiting cemeteries, scouts putting flags down at Arlington National, Jefferson Barracks, and all over the country. It’s a time of holding family gatherings and having memorials to remember their lives and their service. 


We also remember the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington, which honors soldiers who were brought back, but were unidentified. The inscription reads: 


HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY 

AN AMERICAN SOLDIER KNOWN BUT TO GOD


Our soldiers have made many sacrifices in the field, defending America and her causes, including the ultimate sacrifice of giving their lives for the cause of freedom. For their country, their home. So, we honor them. We remember them. Brave women and men from different races, creeds, and backgrounds fighting together for a common cause. They died in battle, not seeing the promise of victory come to pass. We must never forget their sacrifice and their commitment. 


Many military regiments speak of fighting for “God and country,” with a sense of something bigger than themselves. Fighting for those back home, for people they don't even know. And for those who follow Christ, they have a sense that they are never really alone. God is on their side as they fight for their home.


Just the memory of home can bring a smile to one’s face. If you can remember the sights, smells, and sounds of home, then you’re never far away. Remember Dorothy who found herself in the fictional land of Oz? After taking on lions and tigers and bears, oh my! What did the wizard tell her? That home was in her heart. She was never far away from home. And if you've ever travelled and been away for a while, as our soldiers do, when you get back home, a feeling comes over you like Dorothy. And we realize that there's no place like home!


Moses must’ve known that feeling. That’s why he could pray:


Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.

Psalm 90:1


Moses understood perhaps better than many, the concept of God being our home, our refuge, our dwelling place. God had been with the Israelites, delivering them from Pharaoh and bringing them through the wilderness. The constant, abiding presence of God reminded Moses of home. I love that image!


As a child, I remember going into the refrigerator and getting something to eat or drink. Whatever was in there, I could have. Even as an adult with my own home, I remember going straight to my mother’s kitchen to see what she had cooked. She never stopped me or scolded me because I was at home. There’s no place like home!


So, if God is our dwelling place, our home, then we can go to Him in our time of need, open up the refrigerator, see what’s on the stove, come to God for anything, come into His Presence, and find a safe place to land. But we’ve got to come to Him, dwell in Him. The psalmist said:


Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.

Psalm 91:1-2


When you put your trust in God, you can come freely to Him and He will provide. 

Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16


Whatever you need, God has it. Trust Him. Spend time in His Presence and you will find that there’s no place like home; there’s no place like being safe in the arms of God!


I hope you can join us this Sunday for the sermon: No Place Like Home. We will honor our soldiers, and we will celebrate birthdays and anniversaries for the month of May! 


Annual Conference 2024 will be held June 7-9 at the St. Charles Convention Center. Guests are welcome to attend. Visit: MOAC24 (moacinfo.com) for more information.


Mozambique Update Rev. Wayne Lavender, Exec. Director of the Foundation 4 Orphans, will bring the message on June 9, and he will bring greetings and information from the Dondo Home in Mozambique. The Dondo Home is being transitioned out, the children are mostly reunited with relatives, and a new initiative has been put in place, the Zoe program, which helps young people to become independent. Rev. Lavender will be available after worship to talk about it in detail. 


Celebrate Dad! Join us on Father’s Day, June 16, as we celebrate all fathers! Mike Caponigro, a Master of Divinity student at Covenant Theological Seminary, husband and father of three, will bring the message. If you’d like to send a picture of your father for a video collage, send it to me at: drlinda@umcgt.org. Include his name and your name.



Vision for 2024:

A House United: 

Strong Faith, Strong Families, Strong Future!



Blessings,

Pastor Linda


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