Intro: This weekend in the United States, we will celebrate Memorial Day—a time to honor and mourn our fallen [killed in battle] military heroes who fought for our freedom. To celebrate the holiday many will enjoy family gatherings, visit flag-dressed cemeteries, and attend parades. Many people will choose to wear red to remember the field of red poppies growing where so many soldiers died during WWI. A poem, In Flanders Field, written by Col. John McCrae tells of a wall of red poppies covering the wheat fields of war. Memorial Day (aka Decoration Day) is a true celebration of sacrificial love. Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). He should know because Jesus, the Son of God, not only said it; like our fallen heroes, he did it.
As well, many Christians will celebrate Pentecost this weekend—the descent of the Holy Spirit—third person of the Trinity—to help fallen [subject to sin] humanity to experience spiritual freedom from sin, as well as affirm the Church’s mission to represent Christ and his work of salvation in the world. To celebrate the holiday many will gather to share food; invite neighbors and even strangers to share in the harvest feast. Many will wear red to remember the joy and the fire of the Holy Spirit that descended upon the apostles (Acts 2:1-4). The Holy Spirit is the source of revelation, wisdom, and power and he has chosen to live in those who believe in the work of Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension. The Apostle Paul proclaims, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Cor 3:16).
In our passage today from the psalter, we are reminded about the nation God cares for and protects with the divine life of the Spirit. When God’s love and principles for living rule a nation, it flourishes. God’s presence, in that nation, serves as the protection for its people; let’s remember even military might is directed by God. May the leaders of this amazing country—the United States of America—remember who is ultimately in control and will be descending once again to re-establish the rule of his world.
Psalm 33:12-22 NLT
What joy for the nation whose God is the Lord, whose people he has chosen as his inheritance.
The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race.
From his throne he observes all who live on the earth.
He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do.
The best-equipped army cannot save a king, nor is great strength enough to save a warrior.
Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory— for all its strength, it cannot save you.
But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love.
He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine.
We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.
Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone.
Prayer: Father, thank you for the salvation and eternal life Jesus provides and for the work of the Holy Spirit to set us free from sin and death. We trust your love and care for us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.