Day opens with birds singing and flag unfurled. Coming hours hold household chores and precious minutes with family, dripping melon, sticky popsicles, hum of fans.
In it all I ponder the remembering in this day. The Memorial-what I have, because of what others gave up.
I mow, and thank God for the freedom to spend the day as I desire, taking care of the blessing of yard and house instead of back bent in labor ordered by another. My husband sits, in respite from blessed employment, rather than furtively gathering what he can to provide, dodging law and enforcers of the law. The sounds wrapped around me are sounds of cars freely traveling to destinations of choice, unhindered by threat of
ambush or explosion. They are sounds of teenagers cyber-searching, gathering music and knowledge and laughter that is not controlled by a self-serving government.
The flags we raise today, the label stamped on the calendar, are the memorials for the life and limb that were made on our behalf-decades of layered sacrifice, rolling us forward to the liberated now.
In the Bible, God speaks of another memorial, an Ebenezer. Recorded in 1 Samuel 7, Samuel erects a stone of remembrance, of memorial.
Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”
Joshua 4:1-7 records another raising of a memorial:
1 Now when all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying, 2 “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe, 3 and command them, saying, ‘Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight.’ ” 4 So Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the sons of Israel, one man from each tribe; 5 and Joshua said to them, “Cross again to the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder,
according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel. 6 “Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ 7 then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.”
It is good to remember– the Lord has helped us.
What are your Ebenezers, your ‘stones of memorial’?
Are they a list of daily eucharisteo? A journal entry? A Bible verse mounted on your wall or Post-it noted to your computer screen? A worn photo of after-baptism?
When you lay open the God-breathed Truths, sing the hymns, commune over the bread and wine, do you remember the centuries of layered sacrifice, the offering of life and limb on your behalf that rolled freedom forward to your soul-liberated now?
It is good to remember.
The Lord has helped us.
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Robert Robinson 1758