Beloved Church-in-the-Garden Family and Friends,
As our nation celebrated Memorial Day, I took some time to look back on a sermon I preached for Memorial Day in 2016 entitled, “What We Remember” taken from Josh 4:4-7. I wrote:
Memorial Day conflicts me because it is a eulogy to those fallen soldiers. We are remembering the dead. And the entire point of a eulogy is to remember, reflect, and then show those who are present the hope of the future. The tension lies in the knowledge and the reflection of the remembrance. So the question is asked what are we remembering on Memorial Day…
We as Christians need to understand and look deeply at this day so that we can fully appreciate those who have given their lives. This will help facilitate us to move forward in building the beloved community and a world where our reflections and remembrances are bathed in the light of peace and the unity of humanity. In other words, if we can really focus on the remembrance of why we have fallen soldiers in the first place, then we can turn our focus to changing the mentality of a nation from war hawk to one that studies war no more.
We remember the many who have given their lives for this country. We remember their acts. But seldom do we remember the reason why they had to die! Yes, we remember the dead but so quickly we choose not to deal with why there is a necessity for war in the first place. We fail to remember the cost of our country’s political and economic policies and engagement that needlessly and sometimes necessarily shoves young men and women out to the battlefield...
I still struggle with this. Too many have lost their lives fighting in wars and conflicts. Too many veterans and families tell of the lasting effects war has on them. The sacrifice has been great and the lessons seem to have been lost on our country. Maybe this is a way to look at Memorial Day, as a lesson for our country’s future and to diminish the express desire to engage and fund more military operations abroad. Have we not learned the lessons of history? Herbert Hoover sagaciously suggested, “Older men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight and die.” Indeed, maybe Memorial Day can be a day where we truly remember those who died. It can be a day where we remember and rejoice because we will not have to add to the death toll of our military personnel and its negative effects on our collective psyche. It can be a day where we live in to the understanding that peace can never come by violent means. Killing for peace is akin to violently shaking a baby to keep it from crying. There are ways we can promote peace and create a peaceful world. Let’s start looking at those. I am happy to hear your thoughts on the matter.
Let me thank my dear brother, friend, and gifted preacher Minister S. Raschaad Hoggard for bringing a powerful and prophetic word to our church family on Memorial Sunday. Min. Hoggard’s love of Christ and his powerful theological insights quicken the hearts of our worshippers. It is a great joy of mine to be able to bring such talent and ability to our worship and the pulpit. Thank you, brother Raschaad!
I am excited to celebrate Father’s Day with our congregation. I look forward to biblically teaching and preaching on the subject of fatherhood, masculinity, empowerment, and leadership for our young men, particularly in this day and age. I want to encourage all the men who have claimed the mantle of father, mentor, brother, or friend to speak out on what they need to be better fathers, mentors, brothers, or friends. Let’s start talking about the challenges that you are facing and have faced, and what you can pass on to those who are under your care and the young men who are coming after you.
Lastly, I want to say thank you to Deacon and Deaconess Thorpe, my parents, for giving two of my sisters and me life this month. We are June babies! So, special birthday wishes to all of my friends and family who will celebrate being born this month. Feel free to stop by Church-in-the-Garden any Sunday this month and receive a warm and hearty rendition of Happy Birthday! You are invited to worship with us every Sunday at 10AM.
As always, I welcome your comments, questions, and conversations.
Pastor Earl Y. Thorpe Jr.