This Memorial Day, remember your departed loved ones' best qualities, and pray for them to be passed along.
People don’t observe Memorial Day like they used to. In the past, it has been a day for remembering those who died while serving in our nation’s armed forces, as well as an occasion for visiting and decorating the graves of deceased loved ones. Traditionally, the holiday has been marked by parades, picnics and prayers.
Not so much anymore. For many, Memorial Day (which, since 1971, has been the last Monday in May) is merely the unofficial beginning of summer.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, Memorial Day offers a prime opportunity to pray the past into the future.
What do I mean by that?
Remember when Elijah placed his mantle on young Elisha? The incident is recorded in 1 Kings 19:
[Elijah] found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him….And [Elisha] took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him. (1 Kings 19:19, 21, ESV)
Memorial Day offers us the opportunity to do something like that for the coming generation. As we remember and honor those who have already entered their eternal reward, we can pray the past into the future by asking God to place their mantle on those who are still living.
“God, thank you for the life and service of my staff-sergeant father. Let his courage and devotion be shown in my son.”
“Father, you know how I still miss my mother. Please give me and my children and grandchildren a double portion of her grace, strength, integrity and musical ability.”
“Lord, may the sense of humor that always made Uncle George a joy to be around fill and flow through every one of his nephews and nieces.”
You get the idea.
Whether you visit a cemetery this Memorial Day or take a few moments to remember those you miss most, spend some time remembering your departed ones’ best qualities, and then pray for those qualities to be passed on to those who are still living.
That, after all, may be the most fitting memorial anyone can have.