Memorial Day Sermons

Memorial Day sermons offer the perfect blend of remembering what God has done for us as we remember those who gave themselves on our behalf.

Memorial Day is a time for those in the USA to remember those who fought and died in the military service of the country. It became a holiday that recognizes both the living and the dead. As we are in the remembering mode, it is a perfect time to also reflect on what our Savior does and did for us.

I offer the following sermons for Memorial Day to help you get started. As with all the sermons on this site, these are just outlines – you will have to add your own spin to finish up.

A Time to Remember

Text: Joshua 4:1-9

Theme: Moses is dead and now Joshua is charged with the responsibility of leading Israel across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. There’s just one problem: the Jordan is a flood stage and there is no way to get an entire nation across the river. So God provides a way – he dams up the river and gives Israel a dry path across the river.

God then instructs Joshua to have 12 men – one from each tribe of Israel – to pick up a large stone as they walked across the dry Jordan Riverbed. They were to place the stones on the river bank in a way that formed a monument – a memorial in the Promised Land. It was meant to cause people to remember God’s work. It was also to serve as a way to educate the next generation about what God did on their behalf.

This passage is not about our Memorial Day. But it does share several similarities. It is those similarities that can provide hooks to keep people interested and to draw people into the text.

In France there is a graveyard that is full of thousands of memorial stones. American casualties were approximately 5,000 on the first day of the Normandy landing on D-day. We are indebted to these men for their sacrifice in preserving our freedom. So it is fitting that they each have memorial stones that remind us of what they did for us. You may also want to tie in the first and last scenes of the movie, Saving Private Ryan. These memorial grave stones remind us of what soldiers did for us and they also help us explain that terrible time in world history to our children.

We Are to Pause and Remember All that God Has Done for Us

  1. A few represent all - Joshua chose 12 men to represent each of the 12 tribes of Israel. They did a work on Israel’s behalf. So it is that our men and women in arms fight not just for themselves, but for our entire nation.
  2. The few establish a memorial - These men built a memorial for all of Israel. this served the purpose of reminding Israel about the great event that God had done. So too we have a variety of memorials that are to be used to help us remember the incredible sacrifice of so many.
  3. A second memorial was set up at the point of the crisis. Joshua set up a memorial of 12 stones in the middle of the Jordan so that people would see it and remember that that is where God, represented by the Ark, stood and held back the waters which would have meant certain death. The cemetery in Normandy, France serves as a memorial at the site of the World War 2 crisis.

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What Memorial Day Sermon did you preach last year? Would you share it with other pastors?

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