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SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH OF LOS ANGELES

Inspirational messages for Sunday July 5 through Saturday July 11, 2020


A Few Thoughts On Commemorative Observances

14 “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.  Exodus 12:14–15 (ESV)

 
Sunday July 5, 2020

Introduction

The idea of memorials has prevailed among all kinds of people from the earliest times.  The Old Testament contains the record of many memorials.  The greatest of these was the day set apart to commemorate the safety of the people of Israel from the destroying angel and their deliverance from bondage of their oppressor.  Year by year, generation by generation, this occasion was ordered set apart as a time of joyous gratitude to God. (It is called Passover).  The Passover contains one or more of the elements in commemorative celebrations about trusting in the future when you have been hurt in the past to get beyond your consequences of your hurt. 

The first thing to notice about memorials whether sacred / religious / cultural / national /  personal and private is that all memorial observances have a circumstance, context and/or condition that occasioned their creation and observance.  14 “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast."

List at least three occasions you observe and why they are important to you.  

Monday July 6, 2020

14 “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast."

This passage in Exodus reminds us that people were about to experience that for which they had longed / freedom from bondage /  liberation from captivity and the possibility of fulfilling the promise of their potential.  So important is this that there is the admonition to have a perpetual observance and public participation.  All the people would benefit from what was going to happen as an act of grace (unmerited good favor / receiving what is not earned but freely given).  (Parenthetically speaking this is the story of all of our lives / receiving what you have not earned which has provided all that was needed for you to acquire all that you have).  Others have earned through their efforts what has accrued to our account.  This biblical injunction reminds us of the memorials we observe and our desire and longing for freedom from bondage, liberation from captivity and the possibility of fulfilling the promise of our potential. 

Memorials essentially remind us to commemorate what we are so prone to forget. Customs, festivals, rituals and traditions are commemorative ceremonies or celebrations that keep the memory alive about the importance of the past and its implications for  the present and direction for the future.  It has been said that customs, rituals and traditions ease people through tense situations, sustain persons in and  through life's transitions, and intensifies joy and crowns life with celebration. 

There are occasions that  you respond by simply conforming to the custom of the community, the ritual of your religion and  the tradition of your tribe.  That gets you through confusing circumstances, difficult dilemmas,  and troubling times.   Corporate and communal celebrations as well as personal observances such as anniversaries, birthdays, funerals and weddings are the most customized and ritualized activities of every culture on the face of the earth.    

Consider what has accrued to your account from what others before you have done as you ponder a few experiences, instances, and/or opportunities that have benefited you to be free from bondage, liberated from captivity leading to the fulfillment of the promise of your potential. 


Tuesday July 7, 2020

14 “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast."

There are many national days with cultural significance that remind us of what has been done to provide the life we have. Independence Day, July 4, commemorates the American Revolution where the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence in 1776.  From 1776 to the present July 4 has been celebrated as the birth of American independence.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed annually in the United States on the last Monday in May.  Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War.   In one way, the Civil War was the first war in human history to use a multinational force. Historians agree that most Union Army soldiers, no matter what their national origin, fought to restore the unity of the United States, but emphasize that: … they became convinced that this goal was unattainable without striking against slavery.  Maintaining and ending slavery was at the core of the Civil War.  Memorial Day had subsequently been extended to honor all Americans who have died in all wars.  Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United State Armed Forces.

By the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as people visited the graves of their deceased relatives in church cemeteries, whether they had served in the military or not. 

The passage in Exodus chronicles the observance of a particular moment in time for a specific group of people, the Israelites as a national observance to remind them of what was done to free them from bondage, liberate them from captivity and the possibility of fulfilling the promise of their potential.  

First hundred (100) years of its existence 683,000 died / the civil war claims 623,026 (91.2%) Next hundred (100) years 626,000 / two world wars (I and II) several more regional conflicts with world war II claiming 65% of that total with 405,399 lives lost.   /  civil war (625,000) / World War I (116,516) / World War II (405,399) / Vietnam (58,209) / Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) (2,356) / Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq) (4,489). 

Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address, "The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here so nobly advanced."

"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. ......". 

Consider a few of the national observances that you celebrate or commemorate and the benefit you have received as a result of those whose lives made possible the privilege you enjoy. 


Wednesday July 8, 2020

 14 “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.  Exodus 12:14–15    

All groups of peoples have their special celebrations peculiar to their history that are meaningful to them more so than anyone else.  African Americans have the emancipation proclamation ceremonies on the last day of the year (watch night services at churches),  Juneteenth, Black history month, Civil Rights Bill of 1964, the Voting Rights Bill of 1965, all of which remind them of their freedom from bondage, liberation from captivity and the possibility of fulfilling the promise of their potential. African Americans have been the victims of discrimination, racism, segregation and violent treatment due to the color of their skin.  They have been stereotyped in denigrating, derogatory and disgraceful images throughout the fabric of the culture of America.    

Consider how all of these observance have contributed to the opportunities you have had to make of your life what it has become. 


Thursday July 9, 2020

 14 “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.  Exodus 12:14–15    

One of the first things that come to mind would be the sacrifices that have been made by so many that have benefited us all in immeasurable ways. Sacrifice  /  Giving up in order to give back to others what they were deprived of having / Developing your gift and fulfilling your life in order to provide an example to others of what they can do with their lives / passing on to your posterity your sense of what's really important in life (what's really important is a purposeful existence) 

The sacrifice does not end but continues to those who have received what has accrued to them. 

Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,

In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side;

Some great cause, God’s new Messiah, offering each the bloom or blight,

Parts the goats upon the left hand, and the sheep upon the right,

And the choice goes by forever ’twixt that darkness and that light.

James Russell Lowell / Present Crisis

Ponder a few of the sacrifices that have been made for you whether nationally, personally, individually, psychologically.  


Friday July 10, 2020

14 “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.  Exodus 12:14–15    

Scars are acquired in the sacrifices that are required to live.    We all have scars weather emotional, physical or psychological.  Scars reminds us of a few things about life. (a)  Life is fragile filled with incidents that injure and individuals that hurt. We can get hurt and hurt badly.    While scars might be a interpreted as negative there is something else that we can learn from scars. (b) We can be healed / the scar is a reminder of the hurt that is now healed / (c) we are stronger than what hurt us / (d) we can survive. (e) scars are a reminder of your faith, endurance and perseverance.

The Japanese have an art form called Kintsugi, (kint su gi) in which broken pottery is repaired with lacquer that has been mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, and treats the breakage and repair as something to be revered rather than disguised and hidden. In doing so, they embrace the flawed or imperfect pieces rather than shaming or discarding them. By repairing broken ceramics it’s possible to give a new lease of life to pottery that becomes even more refined thanks to its “scars”.
 
The Japanese art of kintsugi teaches that broken objects are not something to hide but to display with pride. Rather than devaluing the object it enhances its worth with its repairs.  God doesn’t discard flawed children. Scripture says we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We all have scars from the battles we have fought in life. Jeremiah chapter 18 go down at once to the potters house.  www.lifegate.com/people/lifestyle/kintsugi. 

“Every scar that you have is a reminder not just that you got hurt, but that you survived.”

Scars remind us of the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord / Scars show that we are stronger than what hurt us / Scars serve to remind us of faith, endurance and perseverance. 

People experience injury, trauma, and sometimes a complete crisis. These unique and troubling experiences become opportunities to creatively restructure the ourselves, find meaning, reduce suffering and allow us to overcome and fulfill the promise of our potential.

Consider a few of the scars that you have whether emotional, psychological, or physical remind you that you can survive life's hurts, pains and troubles. 


Saturday July 11,2020

14 “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.  Exodus 12:14–15

Life takes us from slavery through sacrifice with scars to salvation.  

It is the sacrifice of others that provide for the opportunity for us all to get beyond life's hurts.  We all have had our liberating moments from being in captivity.  We all benefit by the sacrifices of others.  We have scars that have healed.  There are a plethora of examples that can be cited. 

However, those who have been converted, convicted and convinced about God's presence in Christ Jesus, have a priceless, matchless example of the what God is like and the promise of our potential.  The example we have is in our matchless savior, Jesus the Christ.  Wounded, bruised, chastised, beaten with stripes, humiliated, yet he survived the most horrific hurt, pain and death imaginable. 

5 But He was wounded[a] for our transgressions, He was [b]bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes[c] we are healed Isaiah 53:5 New King James Version
 
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. II Corinthians 4:7-8 KJV

 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service." Romans 12:1-2

 
Conclusion

 
1. My faith looks up to thee, thou Lamb of Calvary,  Savior divine!  / Now hear me while I pray,  / take all my guilt away,  / O let me from this day be wholly thine! 

May thy rich grace impart  / strength to my fainting heart, my zeal inspire! 
As thou hast died for me,  / O may my love to thee pure, warm, and changeless be, 
a living fire! 

While life's dark maze I tread, and griefs around me spread, be thou my guide; 
bid darkness turn to day, wipe sorrow's tears away, nor let me ever stray 
from thee aside.