During the twenty years that we lived overseas, I often lost track of upcoming American holidays. Before wide-spread internet connection, I have to admit that the last Monday of May was usually spent with end of the year parties and summer plans.
Yet, I vividly remember my first Memorial Day weekend back in the states in 2007. As our church sang patriotic songs and remembered those who had died for our freedom, I was moved to tears and ashamed that I had so seldom celebrated this national holiday.
First called “Decoration Day”, the Memorial Day-type observance began as a day to decorate the graves of fallen Civil War heroes. Although placing flowers on the tombs began as early as the first year of the Civil War, it wouldn’t be until over 100 years later that the federal government would set aside a specific day to observe the holiday.
As Christians, today should be a very special day for each of us. Of course, we must remember those who have given themselves for our country’s freedom and thank the families of those who are remembering their loss.
But, we have another death to remember. That of our own.
Our old self died when He died (Romans 6:6).
Let’s take some time today to remember this glorious fact and visit our own gravesite.
When God looks at who you were before Christ, He sees a dead man – complete with coffin and tombstone. Your body of sin has be done away with, so that you no longer have to be at sin’s beck and call (Romans 6:7).
Remembering our old man doesn’t create any fond memories within us. That was one life that we can rejoice with its passing. When we were made to die to that old way of life, we were then released to enter into a whole different life that was already blameless and free: the very same Life of Christ (Romans 7:4).
With our gravesite full, we have been released from the rules and regulations of offending God. Christ can’t offend Him – so neither can we. Instead, we can serve God on the other side of the grave – in newness of Spirit – not the tit for tat of the Law-regulated living (Romans 7:6).
Spend a moment at your own burial plot.
As you walk away, know that you will probably need to come back here tomorrow.
Because remembering that we are already dead to sin helps us live like we are already in the heavenlies.
(What’s in your sarcophagus?)
A midwife appointment turns our morning on its end and I find myself at the Farmer’s Market right around noon on a Friday. I pull in with the toddler fussing and the two big kids asking for snacks and when I can’t find a parking spot, I wonder if I should go find some fast food drive thru.
We push the stroller into the market and I hand the kids the last of my week’s pantry: fairy fruit snacks. And I say a little prayer, “Lord, don’t let the organic farmers see me feeding my kids high fructose corn syrup disguised as Tinkerbell.’
We load the stroller full of tomatoes and cucumbers, peppers and squash, and the most beautiful peaches you’ve ever seen. But the kids are hungry and I somehow forgot to pack a sink and a kitchen knife to serve all this summer bounty up in the middle of the market. My big girl smells popcorn and eyes the cookies at the end of the aisle. She looks past all this beautiful produce and begs to head that direction.
I spy strawberries, and though they’re certainly not local this time of year, they cost less than the bag of popcorn. I buy a bunch and set the kids munching.
I’m handing out one strawberry after another and still wondering where my toddler put my sunglasses. I carry a dozen ears of corn on my arm, hope my keys are somewhere under the tomatoes, and balance a box of peaches on the stroller’s canopy.
We finally load up the van and eventually find ourselves back home where we can slice and serve up some of the most wonderful tastes our country can offer. My kids are no longer hungry and there’s no mention of that popcorn we left behind. I eat a tomato sandwich and think about fairy snacks. And I remember the Gospel…
I think of Eve in that fruitful Garden…permitted to eat from EVERY tree, EVERY tree, except one. I wonder why she didn’t fill up on the fruit from every beautiful tree as she made it her way to the forbidden one.
And then I think of Jesus walking through that desert, not having a bite or a drink for forty days, and yet filled to the brim with the good stuff—the companionship of His loving Father and the WORD.
Eve refused the garden of bounty and came hungry to the spot of ‘Do Not.’ And Jesus? He ate to the full, ate food this world doesn’t understand and was able to refuse and resist the most tempting of fast food offers.
I pull tomatoes, cucumbers and the sweetest of watermelons from the car and hide the fairy snacks in the back of the pantry. And I ask Jesus to remind us of the Gospel–that the GOOD NEWS is full of good eating, eating and filling up on the good stuff. Who needs the junky fast food of sin when there’s a market of goodness right under our noses?
“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live. Isaiah 55:1-3
3 Ways to Fill Up on Christ This Week
1. Read a little bit of the Gospels each morning. Just a few verses, a little story, just something. Read what He said, watch what He did, remember how people responded. Watch Him live and ask Him to live in You.
2. Welcome Him into the mindless moments. In the car, walking down the hallway at work, packing your lunch, walking to check the mail…whenever you have a mindless moment, ask Him to join you there and call you back to enjoy Him.
3. Get in touch with people who enjoy Him. You know these people…not necessarily the ones who are always at church, but the ones who are most interested in Jesus. Do you know at least one-someone who’s full of the good stuff? Call them, email them, get time with them somehow. And fill up on Christ together.