I saw this at a classical radio stations website and thought it was pretty nice.
I am speaking at the Memorial Day observance at our community later this morning. Memorial day has always been evocative for me because of the memories that come flooding back and old conversations that I had with my Father and his brothers. They were of the WWII and Korean War vintage. It was their attitude that I found inspiring and a bit frightening. It was inspiring because the were thrown into situations that they did not ask for and that they were afraid of but they also were willing and proud to go because they believed that they were ultimately cared for. That is a Christian response and attitude. I cannot fathom how an unbeliever might feel being thrown into those situations of life and death. The attitude was inspiring to me because it shows the best of what this country can produce. It is frightening because I wonder how much longer we can continue to produce it.
Anyway on Memorial Day we think of those that died in service and we honor their sacrifice and their devotion. Matt Harrison in his book – ” A Little Book on Joy” has a great section on why we can be optimistic in the face of death and dispair and how we who are alive can look forward to a grand reunion with our loved ones. Here is is
Luther has a delightful explanation of what it means that Jesus is the “first fruits of them that sleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20).
Therefore death has already been deprived of his power, and he has but few more people left to slaughter; for almost all have already passed through death, and the time is near at hand when God will present us all alive again and cast death and hell under our feet. In short, our head, yes, our back and our belly, our shoulders and legs have already passed from death, and all the hold death still has on us is by a small toe. This, too, will extricate itself soon. Therefore we who have now reached the end of the world have the defiant comfort that it will be but a little while, that we are on our last lap, and before we are aware of it, we shall all stand at Christ’s side and live with him eternally (Luther’s Works, 28:120).