Last week was the traditional Sunday for recognizing veterans who have served and defended this country, and many others, over the years.
Some might argue that recognizing veterans is “war-mongering” and “anti-peace”, as a few people have said to me. I’m sorry, but I have to disagree. Whenever we recognize the sacrifice that one human being makes on behalf of others, we are honoring them and honoring the Lord. We can disagree with the reasons that such sacrifices had to be made, as these women and men did work to make sure we had that right. But I am glad to honor people who risked their lives in order to protect the lives and freedoms of people around the world.
Our intent at Augusta Heights was to join in that celebration, but circumstances beyond our control de-railed our efforts. You can’t really control sickness in families, particularly for young children, and that caused us to change some plans. We originally rescheduled for this Sunday, Nov. 17.
Well, another hitch got thrown into the mix. Our youth are taking a trip to Paris Mountain on Sunday morning, as a time of worship and fellowship and retreat. It’s a terrific idea and they will, no doubt, have a terrific day. However, it is my feeling that the youth need to be present when we honor our veterans. We have therefore pushed the celebration back to Nov. 24.
Why is this so important?
First, youth are not always aware of the history that has shaped them and where they are in life. Seeing the brave men and women who served and fought is a history lesson for them. Perhaps they are not even aware that some of these people–whom they see and talk to and hug every Sunday–actually served in the military. Maybe this will give them an opportunity to know and understand a deeper story, one that will most likely be very different because of those who served.
It is also important to recognize that the church is made up of all people from all age groups! Youth and young adults and senior adults may have their separate activities and needs; but we are all one in Christ Jesus. It is absolutely ESSENTIAL that students know they are a vital part of the church, not just the youth ministry. We want them to be included in a celebration such as this, because military service and tradition are a vital part of the story of Augusta Heights. Our current youth are now an ongoing part of that story.
Finally, the 24th is the Sunday before Thanksgiving. What could possibly be wrong with giving thanks by honoring those who provided the umbrella of freedom that allows us to celebrate such a holiday?
There is a unique and special relationship that exists at Augusta Heights between the various age groups. It is a joy and a unity that is somewhat unlike anything that I have experienced to this point in ministry. The youth and the senior adults, many of whom served in the armed forces, have a heartwarming bond and love for one another that needs to be celebrated at every opportunity. Even if this means pushing back our Veterans’ Day celebration a little later than usual.
I hope that this will give ALL of us a chance to honor those who have paved the way and protected the freedom that our younger generations currently enjoy.