"Why Are We Here? Fellowship & Discipleship"

Before I forget, let me wish all of you the chance to spend time to honor Memorial Day!

Whether you call it “Memorial Day” or “Decoration Day,” or point back to the Civil War or World War I for its inception, or use the day to honor those who have died or those who have retired or those who are currently still in uniform, the whole point of this weekend is to genuinely appreciate those of us who have placed themselves in harm’s way, to help prevent that harm from reaching the rest of us.

So thank you to all of you who have served in the armed forces, or who have served as police officers or firefighters, or who have otherwise put on a uniform and rushed toward the dangers that the rest of us have run away from.  Thank you for pledging your lives, your fortunes, and your sacred honor to serve those around you.

And thank you also to those of you who have been on the homefront in support for your loved ones, because nobody does that sort of thing completely alone.  Thank you for your inspiration and your dedication to being a tether to home for those who have repeatedly thrown themselves into exotic dangers and crushing boredom on our behalf.  Thank you for always reminding them that their warm, safe, stable home is waiting for them.

As we discussed in our sermon this week, all of us -- everyone who has been called by God’s name and washed by Christ’s blood -- all of us have been given a similar call in our own lives today.  We are not only ambassadors for God’s Kingdom, but we’re also soldiers in God’s army, taking a stand not against our fellow broken human beings, but against the spiritual evil itself that sets its mind and heart against humanity and against the healing, empowering, loving purposes of God.

But none of us are ever “on the homefront” in that battle.  We may not all be on the front lines at any given moment, but none of us as Christians are living in safe, neutral ground, because evil is never “over there” and somewhere else -- it’s always (at best) standing right in front of us, or even (at worst) writhing deep within us.

So part of the reason why the church itself exists in this world is so that no one ever has to face that battle alone.  As a “band of brothers” (as Shakespeare would put it), we come together and stand back-to-back as we face pain and hardship in this world, wielding the materiel of faith and truth as we take a stand against evil, and we train one another by living out God’s truth together, side-by-side, discipling one another within the fellowship that God has given us with one another.

I encourage you to connect -- actively, consciously, honestly connect -- with one another and remind yourselves that we’re never alone in this fight, never just spectators, never even taking a stand near one another.  We’re supposed to be interactively and intimately connected to one another in community, reaching up and reaching out as one Body, and giving glory together to God.

To know God (more and more), and to make Him known (more and more)... that’s why we exist as a church.  As we memorialize those who have put feet to their beliefs and lived out their convictions for our country, let’s follow their example and do the same for the Kingdom of God today.