Today was the 69th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It was a date that President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared would “live in infamy”. Indeed, the events of that day initiated a change of direction for the world on a planetary scale. There is sharply dwindling number of people who were present at Pearl Harbor who still walk among us. For most people in our country, however (and I fear I must include myself in that number), the phrase, “Pearl Harbor” hardly engenders an emotional response any stronger than Gettysburg, Bull Run, Antietam or Little Big Horn. Certainly we acknowledge the historical facts surrounding the event but with the passing of years and the fading of memories, those facts do not stir and energize the emotions as they once did. It’s not quite as bad as the Alamo in the sense that while “Remember the Alamo” was once a battle cry, very few people do remember the Alamo today. Oh we know there was a battle fought there and some famous frontiersmen were involved. But how many remember much of the issues at stake or why the Alamo was such a touch point for human emotions? I daresay that 30 years from now, should the Lord tarry, someone will make similar observations about the tragic events known as 911 – “We will never forget”. Sadly, I think future generations will forget … or at least come to regard it as a piece of ancient history that affected their forbearers but not holding a lot of relevance for their day.
I suppose, in one sense, our individual and national tendency toward historical forgetfulness is a healthy thing because it keeps us from obsessing on the past and being oblivious to the “now”.
There was another day of infamy that long preceded Pearl Harbor! This one occurred at a place called Calvary where the sinless Son of God was cruelly hung on a cross, shedding his life-blood in payment for my sin … and for yours. Now THAT is an event that I will NEVER forget. In fact I’ll be remembering it for all eternity … not with sadness, but with great joy! My objective in the ministry of church planting is to see the number of those who will do so increase as much as possible. How about you?