Tomorrow is Memorial Day, 2020. In some circles, it is referred to as Decoration Day – and that is what my maternal grandmother used to call it. Back when I was a child, we would decorate our bicycles and ride in the parade down Longwood Drive with the scouts, small floats and others who took part in the community celebration. We would end up at Ridge Park Fieldhouse and watch the military men and women as they offered a rendition of Taps and the requisite 21 gun salute. When the event was over, all of us young boys would scour the ground for empty shells and then my brother, Doug, and I would head up the hill to our grandparent’s home on Winchester Avenue and turn on the Greatest Spectacle in Racing – the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
Soon, we would head back to our own home and listen to the race with Dad as I painted the front porch railing with beige Rust-Oleum and trim the iris bed on the south side of our home. My, how Dad loved his iris garden. I remember how excited I was when he finally trusted me with trimming his prize flowers.
Honoring the military has always been a part of Memorial Day celebrations around our home. Sure, we had cook-outs and, as I said, I painted the front railing and did yard work, but Dad was sure to remind us about the wars our country has been in and we had heard him tell us numerous war stories about his own days in the military – serving near the front lines doing decoding work in Greece and Italy during WWII.
Memorial Day was first celebrated to honor those soldiers who died in the Civil War. The Day was later expanded to include and celebrate all who fought and died in American wars. As believers, there is another group of military personnel who have fought, and still fight, for us – the angels who watch over us fight spiritual battles on our behalf every day.
When I was in seminary, I learned that angels are organized in legions and can operate with military precision. They fight evil – protecting us from Satan and other negative influences. Michael and Gabriel are mentioned as archangels – the leaders of the corps of God’s angels. Satan, the Devil, was previously referred to as Lucifer before his fall. And it is thought that his fall was a result of the sin of pride.
In the book of Revelation, we are told of a war that is fought in heaven between Satan and Michael. Their respective forces fought and Satan was vanquished and thrown out of heaven with his legions of demonic angels. What is interesting about this passage is that John tells us about it in his recounting of the things he saw and recorded in the book of Revelation. And although these events are as good as done, they have not yet occurred – so eventually this war will be fought and thanks to John’s recounting of God’s promises, we already know the outcome – Satan and his fallen angels are cast out of heaven.
The verse for tonight is the one that I was assigned to write about in seminary as Dr. Branine taught me more about angels and demons. He thought studying this particular war would help me understand how fallen angels fit into the battle between good and evil. John tells us, in Revelation 12:7-9, “And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.”
My encouragement tonight is that we have the benefit of living in a country where our military has protected us and we remain free. Furthermore, as believers, we have angels who also watch over and protect us from evil, doing everything they can to make sure that as God’s children we have every advantage. My prayer is that we will all celebrate the protection that various military entities have provided us throughout our lives – in this world and also in the spiritual realms. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…