May Peace and Freedom Reign

Every year on Memorial Day, we pause to remember and honor those brave men and women who lost their life while serving in the US Armed Forces. Perhaps you have a family member or friend who died in service. For me, I think about my friend from high school, Gunnery Sergeant Aaron Kenefick. Aaron was a Recon Marine and Special Forces who served 12 years before he was killed in action on September 8, 2009, on the battle field in Kunar Province, Afghanistan when his team was ambushed. Aaron was always someone I admired for his courage and his acceptance of those who were different. While others succumbed to the pressures of the high school pecking order — where the only way to advance was to display superiority over others — Aaron stood up for those who could not stand up for themselves. He was an incredible person and someone that has been missed every day by his family and friends for the last 10 years.

Jesus teaches his disciples in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” These words are often read at funerals and memorial services, but they are also appropriate for us this weekend as we remember and honor those soldiers who have died while serving. As citizens of this great country, we enjoy many freedoms because of their sacrifice. As citizens of God’s kingdom, we can have comfort that comes from the Holy Spirit in knowing that our freedom from sin will allow us to see our loved ones again on the other side of eternity.

This Sunday in both of our worship gatherings, we will honor and remember our friends and loved ones who died in service to our country. During our prayer time, we will read the names of individuals whom you have shared with us. These are your family and friends and as their names are read, we will pause for a moment of silence. As you celebrate this weekend, I hope your celebration will include a time of remembrance and gratitude for all of those who have sacrificed for the freedoms we enjoy. And whenever you think about those freedoms, I invite you to pray for the families and friends who still grieve their loss. May God’s peace continue to cover them on this day and forevermore.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend, and I look forward to being with you in worship this Sunday at 8:45 and 11:00!Grace and peace,

P.S. In observance of Memorial Day, the church office will be closed on Monday, May 27. We will return to our regular office hours on May 28.

P.P.S. Thank you to everyone for your prayers for Leann Malara this past week. We did receive word that her surgery went well and she is on the road to recovery. Keep praying for Leann and her family, especially her mom, Brenda Phillips.