Ready or not, here it comes! It, in this case, is the weekend that signals the arrival of summer, Memorial Day weekend. From the “did you know?” category, did you know there was a time when Memorial Day, the day set aside to honor those who gave their lives for our country, was always on May 30? However, in order to guarantee a three-day weekend, Memorial Day was placed on the last Monday in May.
Through my years of reflecting on Memorial Day, I now understand it is not enough to remember the honored casualties of past conflicts. Honestly, the best thing we can do in their honor is to ensure that they have not died in vain. They died to build or to defend a better world. The least we can do is to live for those same purposes.
As I apply this understanding to our church, I am left with the question—are we doing our best to build a church that defends and offers a “better world?” And what does “better” really mean? Certainly, it means improved or superior, but maybe there is more to it. When you look at the statement “It is better to give than to receive” in the Bible, it is interesting to notice the words offered as coming from the lips of Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20: 35)
“Blessed”—is a powerful word! One of Jesus’ most powerful messages comes when he uses this word nine times. It is the Sermon on the Mount and nine times he promises to the most unlikely that they will be “blessed.” Max Lucado updates this word by defining it as “sacred delight.” He says, “It is sacred because only God can grant it. It is a delight because it thrills. Since it is sacred, it can’t be stolen. And since it is delightful, it can’t be predicted.” (The Applause of Heaven, p. 11)
How has God’s “sacred delight” thrilled you this week? For me it has been easy and ever-present. It came with a friend’s surprise and extended time of encouragement and affirmation. It came when I opened my phone and found the picture and recording of my granddaughter’s giddy laughter. It came with an understanding embrace of a joyful, faithful wife. It came when I slowed down enough to honestly seek God’s presence.
As we begin our journey from spring into summer, may we do so with the clear and overwhelming direction of God’s sacred delight!