“What Are Our Memorials to God?”
- Simply stated, Americans love their memorials. Public memorials and monuments attract millions of visitors each year and, in town squares throughout the country, it is common to find memorials honoring of fallen soldiers, the town’s founder, or a significant event in the community’s history. The National Mall in Washington, D.C., has become defined by the numerous memorials that line the broad pedestrian boulevard and, for a people thought to be ahistorical, Americans have enshrined sites such as the Lincoln Memorial, Mount Rushmore, and the Alamo as part of the national creed.
- Memorials in America date nearly to the founding of the nation. Throughout American history, memorials have been established in honor of great American political leaders and events. Indeed, most Americans are familiar with the Jefferson Memorial, Vietnam Wall, and other tributes in the nation’s capital and numerous memorials throughout the country. America’s passion for public memorials seems to have begun in 1783 when Congress proposed the development of a memorial in recognition of George Washington.
I. Memorials To People in our World
A) American memorials
- Perhaps the first significant American memorial to be constructed was completed in 1825. It honored those lost during the defense of the city of Baltimore from British attack in September of 1814 during the War of 1812.
- Gettysburg National Cemetery was probably the most impressive and widely regarded example of the new memorials. The standard was established when the State of Pennsylvania chartered the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association in 1864 and, by 1890, over 300 memorials and monuments to the deadly and decisive battle of July 1863 were established on and around the site.
- Another crucial moment in the history of public memorials in America was the building of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, more commonly known as the Vietnam Wall, in 1982. The project, like the war itself, was controversial and has become one of the most visited and one of the most popular and recognizable memorials in the country.
- The population of national memorials includes 29 national memorials administered by the National Park Service and 93 national monuments administered or owned by the federal government.
- Some other Memorials we have in America are…
- Alamo Memorial 189 killed in 1836
- Gettysburg Memorial 51,000 killed in 1863
- Galveston 1900 Memorial where 8,000 were killed
- Martin Luther King Memorial where He alone was assassinated in 1968.
- National Fallen Firefighters Memorial… 3,147 killed between 1981-2008
- Oklahoma City National Memorial 168 killed in 1995
- National September 11 Memorial 2971 killed in 2001
- Virginia Tech Memorial 33 killed in 2007.
B) The costs of memorials
- Life and memory in American culture have no price, but there is a cost for memorializing the dead.
- The Oklahoma City National Memorial which received a $5 million appropriation from the federal government, matching funds from the State of Oklahoma, and roughly $17 million raised through private donations by the memorial’s trust.
- The National Mall in Washington, DC includes memorials with price tags as low as $3 million.
- The World War II Memorial, dedicated in 2004, cost in excess of $182 million.
- The National September 11 Memorial at the former site of the World Trade Center have put the project at $1 billion.
II. Memorials to Ourselves
A) The Dash
- I friend of mine asked me if I had ever heard of “The Dash.” I had not and yesterday as I was preparing this sermon I came across the poem…
the poem by Linda Ellis
I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end.
He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth
and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash.
What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.
To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile…
remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.
So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash,
would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?
- So, this morning I believe that we as Christians should ask ourselves… “Would I be proud of the things they say about how I lived my dash?”
- What have I done for Christ? What have I done for God my Father? Have I ignored the Holy Spirit’s warnings and convictions.
- It is important to be kind to others. It is important giving of our time, money and resources to others in need. It is important to love with all our heart and be a good parent.
B) Israel’s Memorials
- Exodus 28:29 …And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually.
- The High priests (before the Cross) were required by God to wear this Ephod (breastplate) into the Holiest of Holies of the Tabernacle which had engraved stones on it that represented the 12 tribes of Israel as a memorial.
- The High priestwas acting as a mediator between God and the children of Israel as Christ Jesus does for us today.
- When the Judgment of God was to be given to Israel for their sins, The High priest would step into the Holy place and represent the children of Israel to God and beg for forgiveness unto God and the cleansing of their hearts.
- FOOD brought as a memorial before the Lord…Leviticus 24:7…And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
- MUCH GOLD brought as a memorial …Numbers 31:54…And Moses and Eleazar the priest took the gold of the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and brought it into the tabernacle of the congregation, for a memorial for the children of Israel before the LORD.
- TWELVE STONES from the river bed of Jordan in Joshua 4:7… Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever. Joshua was commanded by God to have 12 men, one from each tribe of Israel to gather a stone from the riverbed and place it on a specific partial of ground where God had dried it up. This was a place where the Ark of the Covenant had been held. It was a memorial for God’s faithfulness to Israel.
- Did you notice that all of Israel’s memorials are to give God the glory!
III. Godly Memorials
A) The world’s memorials will perish (die)
- We as Christians are to be separated from the world. WHY? Because they are our enemies. They represent those who choose not to follow God.
- They worship people and the accomplishments they have made or things done to benefit this worldly society. Therefore, memorials or shrines are made to honor them.
- What will happen to the world’s memorials? David tells us in Psalm 9:6…O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end: and thou hast destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them.
- In other words… everything we do to bring honor to ourselves or others for the things they have done in this world that benefit this world is useless to God.
- Their memorials die with them. Oh, they are honored by men, but they are not honored by God.
B) Memorials to God
- Anything we do for God will forever be enshrined or lifted up as a memorial to God that lasts forever…Psalm 135:13…Thy name, O LORD, endureth for ever; and thy memorial, O LORD, throughout all generations.
- What have we done in the “Dash” of our life.
- Look to Acts 10:1…There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,
- Here is the memorial of a man who was a high ranking officer in the world’s army and had abandoned his pagan (idol worshipping) religion to follow Jehovah God.
- What habits, or worldly goals have we abandoned in our life to follow God?
- Note his memorial (What people and God know about him…
- Verse 2) A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.
- Note the four things he was memorialized for…
- Devout – he (the centurion) set himself apart from the world for God’s purpose. He was devoted to God
- Feared God – Being a Gentile, he still followed the O.T. ethics but believed in God and was then a believer in Christ and followed the commandments given of his new Lord and Saviour.
- Gave much alms to the people – His love of God led him to love men and therefore gave to others. I believe that he gave to “the people” of God more than the people of the world.
- Prayed to God always – he was very dependent on God, not others. What I mean is, that he depended on God to supply all his needs and desires. He did not depend on his friends and family. He prayed without ceasing!
- Now note Acts 10:3…He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. 4) And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
- This means that God had taken notice of this man’s dash, what He has done in his life to bring honor and glory to God causing others to be affected by His worshipper.
- What are we doing in our life from the time of our second birth (Salvation) to our death.
- What was our life in the “Dash?”