Memorial Day was a time to remember and appreciate those who died serving the country.
Now we continue to pray for those in harm’s way and for the people who will never see their loved ones in this life. We send prayers that our leaders seek peaceful solutions to conflicts and weigh the consequences of sending the young to war.
“And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” — James 3:18
We are now fighting an invisible enemy that is taking too many lives. Members of the military are helping by providing expertise, equipment and many other services. Along with the many front-line workers and caregivers, the members of the military deserve our gratitude and prayers.
“I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all people.” — 1 Timothy 2:1.
I remain concerned for the people who have difficulties protecting themselves against the virus. The ones confined in nursing and retirement homes, Veterans Affairs hospitals and prisons need support and prayers. Being confined in these facilities should not be a death sentence. Health care must be based on need , not race or ethnicity. Health care for people with limited means and the unemployed must be available. People of faith have been instructed to do no harm and to provide support for neighbors and the strangers.
“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” — 1 John 3:17.
Sunday is the day of Pentecost. For early Hebrews, it was a celebration of the first harvest of the growing season. It was a commemoration of Israel receiving the land of Canaan and an observance of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments. All are important celebrations of giving thanks.
For Christians, Pentecost is 50 days after Easter when the disciples received the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s power, authority and presence. Some claim the day to be the birth of the Christian church. The story is dramatically recorded in Acts 2:1-13:
“When the day of Pentecost came, they were together. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. In Jerusalem were God-fearing Jews from every nation. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked, ‘Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!’ Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, ‘What does this mean?’”
A repentant and faithful Peter approached the crowd with the disciples and said that the following words were said by Joel, the prophet in Joel 2:28-32 and recorded in Acts 2:17,19-21: “In the last days, God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit on all people. I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
In Acts 2:22-24, Peter spoke about Jesus and his miracles, his crucifixion and resurrection and the words of King David. Peter continued to move the crowd by his strong words and concluded his message Acts 2: 36-41: “‘Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.’ The people were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all whom the Lord our God will call. Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about 3,000 were added to their number that day.” This dramatic recording in Acts 2:1-41 is worth reading in its entirety.
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits.” — James 3:17