We have a confluence of readings and remembrances this Memorial Day. We have James preaching about keeping a steady faith, enduring all that comes our way, never doubting. We have Jesus, just after healing Jairus' daughter (last Friday) and feeding the 5000 (on Saturday), resting with his 12 closest friends, and telling them about his impending torture, death and resurrection, after Peter identifies him as Messiah. And today, in Holy Women, Holy Men, we remember and honor Joan of Arc.
We've been fighting a war for almost ten years now: in Afghanistan, Iraq, back to Afghanistan and now Libya. More than twice as long than the Second World War. In September, we will mark the tenth anniversary of what can be considered a start of this different time in our lives. And through this past almost-decade, our voluntary military has been stalwartly and heroically living out their vows, living into their duty of protecting the rest of us. Many have lost their lives. Even more have been wounded in body, mind and spirit. And we remember and honor all their sacrifices today: those who did not lose faith, who held fast to their beliefs. These incredibly brave people are very much modern day "Joans": standing firm in their beliefs and acting on them bravely. Not everyone agrees with what their commanders have ordered or based those orders on, but that disagreement does not, should not, get in the way of honoring and remembering the sacrifices offered up for all of us.
Our Gospel selection today ends with Jesus telling his disciples "truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God." My prayer today is that all those we remember and honor this day may have found, or find, peace and comfort and truth in these words of our Saviour.
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Fireworks on the Cape, 2006, jfd+