A Matter of Faith:A Memorial Before God

By: Rev. J. Loren Russell, BA, MDiv

SCRIPTURE: Acts 10:1-4 (NKJV)

“There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, 2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. 3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius. And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord? ”So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.”

Wikipedia describes Memorial Day or Decoration Day (it’s original name) as a federal holiday in the United States set aside annually to recognize and remember the men and women who died while serving in the nation’s armed forces. It is a day to remember, recognize and to honor those who’s commitment to the freedom of this country willingly gave their lives so that the United States could maintain its independence.

We memorialize their supreme sacrifice by erecting statues and building cemeteries with militarily aligned tombstones. We even have one with a military guard 24 hours a day, all to honor our heroes and sheroes. We honor and celebrate them with parades and symbolic activities. I was particularly moved to learn that Amtrak trains collectively sound their horns at exactly 3:00 pm every Memorial Day. If you live or are near a railroad track that hosts an Amtrak train, listen for the sound. It’s a grand and noble thing to be remembered for your commitment and dedication. It’s especially honorable when someone is remembered because they made the highest sacrifice; they gave their lives for a worthy cause.

Cornelius was a commander in the Roman army, the leader of 100 soldiers. He was a man whose activities were remembered, recognized, and celebrated with a memorial. But it was not for his meritorious service to the military. He had not lost his life in battle. There was no national holiday established, no parades, no blowing of horns, no statues erected, and no cemeteries set aside for him, but his actions were memorialized — by God Himself. The Lord sent an angel to tell Cornelius that his prayers and gifts to the poor (alms) have not gone unnoticed. His sacrifices were noted, and he became “a memorial before God.”

Paul could easily have been referring to people like Cornelius when he says, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy‬ ‭4:7-8‬ ‭KJV‬‬).

I humbly join in saluting, celebrating and honoring all the veterans who gave their lives for the liberty of our nation. I also want to acknowledge those who gave and are giving their lives to the cause of Christ, those who have become living memorials before God. That’s a memorial that doesn’t require military service, nor does it mandate a sacrifice of your physical life. All that’s required is a sincere love and worship of the Lord. Are you able to claim that you are a memorial before God?

Be Blessed +++

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial &. Strategic Consulting, and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen by phone at 626-226-1448. Be sure to Friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook and email us at mattersoffaith.mof@gmail.com. Order your copy of Matters of Faith: The Book at Book Blues.

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