This reflection could fit any of a host of passages throughout the last few books from the Hebrew Testament – currently reading in 2 Chronicles 13-14, but there are many other similar passages throughout the books of Kings and then 1 Chronicles as well. In 2 Chronicles 14, we read of a battle that took place between Zerah of Ethopia and the nation led by King Asa. The story reads that Zerah came with over one million men and that not one of them remained alive after the Lord led the people of Judah to victory. As I said, there are so many similar passages in Kings and Chronicles. Its easy when reading these to forget that, whether the exact details of millions being killed, etc are accurate or not, countless people died during these conflicts whether they are massive battles such as this one being described or border skirmishes between Israel or Judah and their neighbors.
Its easy to forget in these battles or in the ones that have been (or continue to be) waged in the world that its real people who lose their lives on the battlefield – many of them soldiers (and also many civilians). Memorial Day weekend here is a time to remember and give thanks. I shared in that today as the congregation my wife serves has an annual Memorial Day service and picnic. At the end of the service, flowers are given out for people to place on the graves of those in the church graveyard who served in the armed forces of our country (where flags had already been placed). As I walked through with my kids this afternoon, I noted that there are more than a few graves in this cemetery that are soldiers such as this one who fought in the revolutionary war. Yes, that war. 1776, etc. Incredible to have that connection as we walked through.
I deliberately took the photo in this way where only part of the lettering is clear because I am reminded of how easy it is for us to forget what men and women have done to deliver, preserve, and protect the freedoms that we have today. As I read the stories of these battles in 2 Chronicles (or the many others that have come before today’s reading), I was reminded to never forget those whether they be in the story that I read or those such as this soldier’s grave I placed a flower upon today or those who have lost their lives in the most recent conflicts in our world today.