"As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world," Jesus says in the Gospel of John, the lesson from yesterday.
Another way of saying it might be this: "I have blessed you in the world, and now it is up to you to pass it forward by blessing the world."
It is an apt message for Memorial Day, as we remember those who have given us their blessing and died in service to our country.
Memorial Day has its origins in the Civil War. It began as a day to honor the dead of both sides. The day was deliberately chosen because it was near the anniversary of the day that our nation was reunified, thus making Memorial Day a reminder that our highest value is not warfare but reconciliation with our enemies.
Following World War I, the dead of all wars were included in Memorial Day. The calamity of World War I was without parallel in world history; no war had ever claimed so many lives globally. There came a growing awareness that the dead of that war -- and every war -- should never be forgotten. The word "Memorial" began to be used in naming public buildings and churches, including our own St. Paul's Memorial Church. The name "Memorial" in our church title was meant to evoke the memory of those who had died in World War I, and to remind us that we should be unceasing in our effort to end all wars.
Today, let us remember those who have died in war, and remember those who are still dying on battlefields across the globe. Let us remember those Americans who have died for our country, and let us pray for our enemies, and pray that all who are at war may one day find peace and reconciliation.