Those of us lucky enough to get a day off have a nice little pause before diving into a new season. This unofficial start of summer comes with cookouts and pool parties, family gatherings and time in the backyard. My favorite Memorial Days are relaxing and fun and feel like a free gift.
All of this is juxtaposed with all that we are memorializing. This is a time for us to remember those who have died serving our country and to honor their sacrifices.
Esteemed author, Walter Brueggemann, explores this juxtaposition in the context of our faith in his poem, "The Threat upon Us":
Summertime...when the living is easy.
You give us summer and winter,
cold and heat,
seedtime and harvest,
But summer is special -
grills and patios and pools
We take our ease,
even amid terrorism.
The threat is mostly remote...
and scarcely calls us in our privilege to attention.
And then, right in the middle of our easy living,
the bombs burst on the street corner,
on the bus,
on the train.
the smoke, the fire, the shrieking,
the dash of emergency vehicles,
all brought very near, all brought right up
against our easy summer living.
We experience a sinking sense
that the world is not safe,
that our life is not free of threat,
and we wonder where and when next
will come assault on our well-arranged lives.
We turn to you, partly out of need,
partly out of habit, partly out of trust.
We know you to be Creator, who maintains order,
Redeemer, who loves us more than we love ourselves.
But we are so self-sufficient,
we do not easily turn from our ways to yours.
And so amid our trust in you
comes our fated self-confidence,
our urge to manage,
our wish for self-sufficiency.
So we, unsettled in deep ways,
want to believe more than we do.
But even now we believe enough to know that your
good way does not depend on our trust.
So be our God - yet again -
this time, and
we will be honest in our double-mindedness
as we turn to you in our fear.
I love Brueggeman's line, "we believe enough to know that your good way does not depend on our trust." In the midst of a complicated world, we do our best to live Godly lives, hoping that our world, more and more, will be marked by the peace that surpasses understanding. And in the meantime, we hope that God's "good way" is happening, one way or another. And we give thanks for simple moments of peace and joy in the company of our loved ones.
God's peace be with you,