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Read:  Hebrews 13:5b-6 

  “…He has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” 6 So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.”

Our nation has just observed Memorial Day.   The origins of Memorial Day began after the Civil War when people were grieving the loss of loved ones, 620,000 northern and southern soldiers.  They remembered the sacrifices and decorated soldier graves.  It became known as “Decoration Day”.  Sometimes, the only thing we can do for our deceased loved ones is to decorate their graves and remember them.

It is good to remember those who have gone before us.  It is good to remember their strengths, struggles, achievements, and sacrifices.  In a very real sense we have inherited the land from them.  They built the homes we live in, the businesses we patronize, the schools that educate us, the roads and the churches that we enjoy every day.  The previous generations, our loved ones, had hopes and dreams for their lives, and hopes and dreams for our lives too.  We need to remember.

Some people think Memorial Day is a sad day, and there is some sadness.  Our loved ones are no longer with us in the ways they had been, and we miss them and the times we shared with them.  In time the sadness is usually balanced by solemn reflection. There comes a point in the grieving cycle where we also need to remember the promises of faith, for they gives us hope and resolve.

John Wesley, the Founder of Methodism, lived a very long life, 87 years.   In his final days people came to his bedside to pay tribute and express their blessing for his life.  His admirers and loved ones were also eager to hear his final thoughts of faith and wisdom.  John Wesley’s final words were, “Best of all God is with us.”

Wesley had long cultivated an active, vital personal faith.  He knew that God is with us always, every day of our life, and to our final breath and beyond.  That promise of God has become more and more significant to me over the years; it is central to the Gospel.  Wesley’s final words express the assurance of faith that we can know as children of God and disciples of Jesus Christ.

Shalom,

Pastor Rob Nystrom