Audio: A Higher Tribute
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Memorial Day is traditionally a time to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. It was originally called Decoration Day, an observance that began in the years following the Civil War, and became an official federal holiday in 1971. It is widely viewed as the most somber of American holidays, a time for “memories and tears”.
Memorials abound for people to whom we want to pay tribute and events we wish to remember. Many memorials are physical structures, but we also “memorialize” by creating mental pathways. Those can start with some physical reminder- like a name, or holiday or song- and lead to any number of thoughts and emotions associated with our experience of the individual personality, or knowledge and opinion of the event.
Jesus probably did not want people to shed tears for him, nor did he care about memorials and tributes. He was far more interested in conveying his message of the true nature of God and the divinity of man. It was as difficult for his disciples as it is for modern spiritual students to comprehend that Jesus’ most important contribution to the world was not his personal presence and story, but rather his denial of self that those who had “ears to hear” would see beyond the flesh to the reality of Spirit.
There is a message in the teachings of Jesus that we can apply to our experiences of loss and grief. We of course can pay tribute to someone who has passed from sight by remembering who they were, what things they accomplished in the world, and the times we may have shared together. We can pay them an even higher tribute by remembering that they were more than “flesh and blood”. They were, and are, a spiritual being on a spiritual journey. In order to release them from our limited concept of who they were to us and embrace this idea, we must touch our own inner divinity. In this way we create a new mental pathway, leading from a reminder of the person directly to the joy and peace of God.