Today’s reading is drawn from Exodus 13:1-10.
When I was in grade school, Memorial Day was my favorite holiday. Incredible though this may sound, I even preferred it to Christmas and Thanksgiving. I grew up in a large family where Christmas presents were quite practical — a wool scarf or gloves, usually — rather than fun, and where Thanksgiving meant that my job was to drag every chair in the county into the dining room.
I wish I could report that Memorial Day was so special to me because it reminded me of those who had given their lives so I could live in the luxury of freedom. I wish I could say that it reminded me of the courage of great men and women who stood firmly to their convictions, no matter the cost. These are true and wonderful, but these were not the reasons.
Actually, Memorial Day was my favorite because I had a chance to play the trumpet in the marching band in our local parade, and because school was almost over for the whole summer.
As a man, for different reasons now, I still have a deep love for the day our nation sets aside to remember the faithfulness of courageous and fallen soldiers. It’s a humbling thing to realize that people — total strangers — spilled their blood for me.
God’s promises had been so visible to the Jews that, every year, they set a week aside to remember and be grateful. Even today, Passover is a time when the children of Israel recall his goodness. And today’s reading announces God’s Passover requirement to fathers, “Tell your son, ‘I do this because of what the Lord did for me’ ” (verse 8).
Jewish tradition has a very, very important lesson to teach dads. Please don’t miss this. You are the priest in your home. Tell your children about God’s faithfulness in your life. Introduce them to God’s amazing grace and forgiveness. Demonstrate what His love looks like when it’s lived out in a person’s life. Yours. And pray that each one will have his or her own personal relationship with Christ.
If you’re like me, you and I have the privilege of being members of a church fellowship. Weekly, we are ministered to by men and women, called of God to teach and challenge us. But having these professionals in our lives has not taken us off the hook. Their job is not to assume this special role in our homes. This one is ours.
We have a calling to live our lives as an example. To teach our children God’s ways, to remind them of His faithfulness, and to show them what it looks like to live with humble gratitude, surrounded by His grace.