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Bloom With Grace!

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This Memorial Day we remember all of those men and women who bravely have sacrificed their lives in various wars throughout our nation’s history so that you and I are able to live in this wonderful Land of Freedom. 

It was a spring morning in 1866, just after the Civil War that had devastated the South. A group of Southerners did something quite extraordinary. They marched down the streets of what was left of their town to a cemetery. There they decorated the graves of the soldiers —  ALL the graves of the soldiers, BOTH Union soldiers AS WELL AS Confederate soldiers who had died in the bloody Civil War. 

The mothers and daughters and widows had already buried their loved ones. Now they BURIED THEIR HATRED of the enemy that day. The time for HEALING had come. It was the first Memorial Day! They not only remembered their dead, THEY BURIED THEIR ANIMOSITY. 

Now 158 years later, we observe a national holiday with our family and friends. But have we forgotten how we got here and what today really is all about? Many in our land do not want to release their animosity toward one another. They let it fester so that it might destroy our democracy. Many people today do not want to “bind up the nation’s wounds” as President Lincoln called North and South to do in 1865. 

Have you ever wondered why Memorial Day is marked in May? Its date doesn’t recall some historic battle. Or the start of some war. Or the signing of an armistice. Why, then, in May?

For a very practical reason. Because it is a time when flowers bloom. Flowers with which to decorate graves. I remember when I was 19 and I went with my dad to decorate my mother’s grave in 1961 after she died. 

A flower does not think about competing with the flower that is next to it. It just blooms! That is our calling this Memorial Day, yours and mine – to bury our animosity toward our fellow citizens and to bloom as a nation. As Jesus said, “Consider the lilies of the field and how they grow.” (Matt 6:28)

What animosity in YOU toward your fellow Americans is festering this Memorial Day and does not want to be released?


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