Remembering

From Rev. Erik Buss, Assistant to the Pastor
May 29, 2019

We just celebrated Memorial Day, when we honor those who gave their lives in defense of their country. My grandfather died in World War II so this time means a lot to me. It reminds me strongly of my grandmother, of the hard times she experienced as a widow with three children under the age of six and of the times we talked about the war. I could see how she valued that he volunteered to fight for a cause that he felt needed fighting for, that he went back to active duty again once his enlistment time was up, that he openly said to his fellow soldiers that he did not think he would survive the war yet fought on.
Memorial Day literally means “remembering day.” We stop to remember what we often take for granted and what we often forget. Yet we don’t really forget; we simple don’t bring it consciously to mind. It’s in there. A passage about a soldier’s courage says, “Before the battle, he raises his mind to the Lord, and commits his life into His hand; and after he has done this, he lets his mind down from its elevation into the body and becomes brave; the thought of the Lord—which he is then unconscious of remaining still in his mind, above his bravery.” (Charity 166) The soldier thinks of the Lord before battle and then the Lord’s presence remains unconsciously in his thinking during battle. Hopefully, we can have that kind of remembering, one that sits deep in our thinking, and leads us to reflectively honor those who risk themselves for us.
It is useful to look back at what people have done—what my grandfather gave. I can honor him because he stood for something so that I, yet to be born, could be free from tyranny. But looking back by itself is not the main point. I honor him more by how I live now, by trying to be similarly mindful of the important things he stood for. The Lord says that anyone who receives and possesses faith is constantly mindful of the Lord. This is so even when he is thinking or talking about something other than Him, or else when he is carrying out his public, private, or family duties, though he is not directly conscious of his mindfulness of the Lord while he is carrying them out. Indeed that mindfulness of the Lord present in those who possess faith governs their whole being, but that which governs their whole being is not noticed by them except when they turn their thought specifically to that matter. (AC 5130)
When I remember the Lord (which is what being mindful of the Lord means) by doing what He says, I not only bring His presence into my whole being, but I also show respect for those who, by being mindful of our safety and freedom, were willing to put freedom above comfort, principle above pleasure.


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