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Monday, May 27, 2013
Today’s Reading | 2 Corinthians 1:3–7
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ. If we are being afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation; if we are being consoled, it is for your consolation, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we are also suffering. Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our consolation. (NRSV)
Today is Memorial Day, a federal holiday remembering the tremendous sacrifices that have been made by men and women on behalf of this country. For many of us, Memorial Day is the kickoff to summer—a day of celebration intermingled with our gratitude for what these men and women were willing to give up in the hope of improving our safety. Our passage this morning, however, is a reminder that there are many for whom this is also a day of great sadness and who are in need of consolation.
Any conflation of religion and nationalism is inherently dangerous, but our passage from Paul reminds us that our faith still has a message to speak on a day like this. Paul opens with a benediction to the troubled Corinthian community, reminding them that God is the God of all consolation. Through his suffering on the cross, Christ shares our burdens and pain. This past decade of war has devastated many families both in our nation and global community, but there is an implicit promise in these words of comfort from Paul: God is with us no matter what.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul writes that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers” will ever be able to separate us from the love of God. On this Memorial Day, let us remember that this promise goes with each of the men and women who gave of themselves in the service of this country.
Dear Lord, I am grateful for the gift of your love—a love that is constant with me no matter where I am at. Be with each of those who grieve on this day, and fill them with your promise of new life. Amen.
Written by Matt Helms, Minister for Children and Families
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