Sunday, May 27, 2012

Stones of Remembrance

Let this be a sign among you (that) when your children ask in time to come, 

"What do these stones mean to you?"   

You shall say,  "Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD when it passed over the Jordan, so these stones shall be to the people of Israel  a memorial forever. (Joshua 4:6-7) 

God speaks regularly in His Word on the concept of remembrance. Repeatedly, He places things in the midst of His children designed only to make us remember. Tied to every single one of them is a corresponding call to action. 

In some cases, that action is a simple retelling for future generations.  

Our vacation to Washington DC was different than usual family adventures. Usually, we try to cram as much sightseeing into our days as time will allow. We saw a lot of sights while there this time, but since we now have a daughter living in DC, we're planning many return visits.   Therefore, we thought it best to leave a few stones unturned. 

Some stones, however, deserve their turn.

We had been told to prepare our hearts for the enormity of it. 

But in truth, no such preparation is possible.

What do these stones mean to you?

To the young lady giving us a private tour, those uniform, nondescript stones are personal. She has not one but two sets of grandparents resting beneath them. It was she who recognized the faint sound of a cadence and knew to stop in respect and wait for the funeral procession to pass by. 

We saw not one but two such processions that day. They marched slowly and reverently. First came the band, and then the soldiers. Then came the caisson with its flag draped coffin and riderless horse. Then came the family.

Because it's personal to them.

... We are the dead, short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved and were loved and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you from falling hands we throw
The torch be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not rest while poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
~ Lt. Col. John McCrae

Tell me:
On this Memorial Day, and on every day, 
what do these stones mean to you?

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