Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorial Day Thoughts

By: Joanne Viola

Today is Memorial Day. It is a holiday in which we remember and honor those who have given their lives while serving in the armed forces, to protect our freedoms and land.

Many will put out their flags, attend a parade, and gt together for a barbeque. But we don’t want to forget those who banded together, to win the battles so we could enjoy each day here in our country.

This turned my thoughts to the battles we fight every day in each of our lives. 

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12, NASB)

As children, our mom brought us to VBS in a neighborhood church not our own. It was held faithfully every morning for two weeks. It opened the same way each day … all the children were lined up in the foyer by age and we marched into the sanctuary singing “Onward Christian Soldiers”. Every day for two weeks, we sang all five stanzas.

The words of the old hymn are embedded in my memory. As children we were learning Christ wins every battle. But we also learned the Body of Christ stands as one – those who have gone before and those yet alive – joined together as one.

“Like a mighty army
Moves the Church of God:
Brothers, we are treading
Where the saints have trod;
We are not divided,
All one Body we—
One in faith and Spirit,
One eternally.

Crowns and thrones may perish,
Kingdoms rise and wane;
But the Church of Jesus
Constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never
’Gainst the Church prevail;
We have Christ’s own promise,
Which can never fail.”

(from the hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers)

We sang these words as children, at the top of our lungs, probably never even comprehending the powerful truth which would remain as truth for all of our days.

And it is a promise the Jesus Himself gave to Peter and to us:

I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” (Matthew 16:18, NASB)

Memorial Day reminds us of the dependence we have upon others to maintain and protect the freedoms we enjoy each and every day.

This year may it also remind us that we are to live dependently
on the One who fights our spiritual battles.


*This is an edited post previously published here.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash


  1. I remember singing Onward Christian Soldier and being swept into the line of soldiers march off to fight for our Savior! Yes - there are lofty ideas in the song - but the not giving up part stayed imbeded in my spirit!

  2. There doesn't seem to be much emphasis on the doing-battle side of Christianity these days, but it's an apt Biblical metaphor. We need God's grace to battle the forces of darkness.


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