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Things To Remember (Memorial Day)
Isaiah 30: 21: "Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying,
This is the way, walk ye in it; when ye turn to the right hand and to the left."
This text is an injunction from a wise prophet urging us to learn from our remembered experiences.
We should get suggestions from it on this Sunday which follows Memorial Day.
Marshall Field is said to have listed these 12 things to remember:
"The value of time.
The success of perseverance.
The pleasure of working.
The dignity of simplicity.
The worth of character.
The power of kindness.
The influence of example.
The obligation of duty.
The wisdom of economy.
The virtue of patience.
The improvement of talent.
The joy of originating."
One evening a group were engaged in pleasantries about their hobbies.
After several people had extolled the merits of their hobbies, a shy little woman was asked about hers.
"Mine," she exclaimed, "is collecting memories!"
Memory can be a blessing.
Memory can aid dedicated patriotism.
History has been spoiled for many people because the living, breathing, dying people who made the history
were embalmed in the coffin of details and dates.
What is important in Washington crossing the Delaware is not the fact that he did it, but the courage and spirit of the man.
A teacher of history should stir the imagination of his students with an awareness of the flesh and blood of history
made by people who were made great by the way they faced life.
Many have visited some of the sacred places and have wept there where freedom was defended and history was made.
- We should remember these brave people.
- We should remember the courage of the Minute Men at Concord.
- We should remember the determination of Washington at Valley Forge.
- We should remember the gaunt and lonely Lincoln at Gettysburg.
- We should remember the graves at Verdun.
- We should remember the exploits of D-Day.
- We should remember those who risked and those who died in Korea, Viet Nam, Desert Storm, and other battle fields.
Can you hear the voice behind us saying, "This is the way, walk ye in it?"
Memory is invaluable in education.
Robert A. Millikan, Nobel Prize winner in physics, tells in his autobiography that his early teachers in school believed in
writing on the blackboard every Friday the great sayings of wise men and encouraging the children to memorize them.
He says, "I stored my mind with a goodly number of bits of classic literature, which I found useful all my life."
Jesus said to his disciples, "Store these sayings in your memory."
- I believe this practice has been abandoned in our schools today. That is sad!
- I believe that children should memorize great thoughts and great pieces of literature.
- I believe that church schools should encourage children to memorize great passages of the Bible,
and I know that many are doing this.
Every teachers should ask the question, "What is the significance of what I am teaching?"
If it is only dead facts. it will have no meaning for the future of these students and children?
Mark Twain, writing about his early years on the Mississippi, said, "My memory was never loaded
with anything but blank cartridges."
Much education is putting blank cartridges into the heads of students.
Because their memories are loaded with nothing but blank cartridges, education has little or no relation to character.
And what about old age?
- Education should be for something more than the acquisition of facts for use in a job.
- It should also be for the enrichment of the soul, and for the enlargement of the mind.
- Education should give us interesting things to think about and to live with in our hearts when we are alone.
What memories will we have for our later years?
When Mary MacArthur, daughter of Helen Hayes and Charlie MacArthur, died, Gertrude Lawrence wrote a letter of sympathy.
In answering it, Helen Hayes said among other things, "Don't be worried about us.
We are protected by the happiest of memories."
Cicero, in his essay on "Old Age," spoke of the harvest of old age as "the memory
and rich share of blessings laid up in earlier life."
Old age can be rich in such memories, but not unless we sowed the right kind of seed in our youth.
The harvest is in our hands.
Memory is a steadying power in a period of moral strain and uncertainty.
What better gift could parents give to their children than the memory of a happy childhood, with questions answered,
moral and spiritual values shared, expectations made clear, examples of parenthood just and fair?
What boy or girl can go wrong carrying in their memories a picture of the family at prayer?
At worship in church?
Speaking about the Transfiguration experience, someone has said,
"The experience gave them a great memory to which they could return."
Blessed are those who have great memories of home and love to which they can return.
And when death comes, also to have memories of lives fulfilled together.
Memories are invaluable to our faith.
How much of the vitality of our Christian faith depends on memory?
The Lord's Supper has among other things the power to keep our Lord's memory alive.
"This do in remembrance of me."
The church is the community that remembers Jesus.
George Buttrick has said that the church was given to us "to keep us in basic memory, of whence we have come,
the brevity of life, the mission that is ours, the destiny to which we are called."
The Christian centuries belong to us along with Paul and Augustine, St. Francis and Aquinas, Luther and Calvin and Wesley.
- I'll always remember my baptism as a child.
- I will always remember the faith of my parents.
- I will always remember the encouragement and support of my pastor in my church.
Our whole Hebrew-Christian faith is rooted in the acts of God, and all that was done for us and our salvation.
Ours is a religion of revelation and memory.
"Think on these things."
Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White
Email Dr. White at hleewhite@AOL.com