Today we commemorate the men and women of our armed forces who have given their lives for our country. Like many Americans, I have veterans in my family and among my friends. They are individuals who selflessly give of themselves. I have also had the privilege of getting to know one particular group of fine men and women at Seymour Johnson AFB during my teaching career. They were the most engaged class I’ve ever taught. They understood the freedom to study that their efforts provided and embraced and rejoiced in that freedom when they were state-side and able to attend college. My recollection of their class always makes me proud and humbled. All of the brave men and women who serve in our armed forces have my complete and never-ending support and gratitude.
I was honored to be asked to preach on Memorial Day at my church as a local church lay speaker in the United Methodist Church. It was a task that I gladly accepted and thoughtfully prepared for. To honor these men and women, particularly the ones who have made the ultimate sacrifice, was daunting. There is much to be learned from their loyalty, brotherhood, honor, and dedication. And there was also the important church holiday of the Ascension and Pentecost to consider. After much thought, prayer, and leading by the Spirit and others, I arrived at my sermon.
The Connections service that I shared the word at is a contemporary service (ie praise band and multi-media support). The intent is “come as you are;” as such, I preached in a pair of jeans to folks dressed in shorts and flops to “Sunday” dress. It is held in the Family Life Center of our church (aka gymnatorium). And the pulpit and Lord’s Table are on the court floor with the people and the praise band is on the stage. I also wore a wireless mic over my ear, like a pop star. It is very informal and conversational at times since I was able to move amongst the people. I share this with you, so you can get a sense of the audience and delivery. And be prepared for the description of video clips that aren’t there…
With that, I share my sermon with you now:
P.S. And you’ll notice I took my own advice yesterday, The Joy of Doing Nothing, and didn’t post anything. After all, I was pretty exhausted after the service yesterday morning!