The Evangelical Universalist Forum

US Memorial Day


#1

Today is Memorial Day in the US. This is a national holiday to honor those who died during military service. I hate the horrors of war and nonetheless acknowledge that there are evil regimes that prompt just military opposition.

I feel numb when I think about soldiers who died in battle and soldiers who returned from war with major physical and mental injuries. I also have no idea how to make the numbness go away before the end of all wars.

Yesterday, I experienced an epiphany about Memorial Day. As a universalist, I believe that Christ never ceases to reach out to anybody who died. I primarily focus my intercessory prayers on the living, but I can pray for the dead, especially on Memorial Day. First, I pray for every US soldier who died in battle. Some lived honorably and others lived dishonorably. Regardless, I pray for their well being. For those who died lost and are still lost, I pray to bless them and that they reconcile with God. And I pray to bless those how are already reconciled with God. Second, I pray the same for every soldier from all other nations who died in battle, even if they fought against the US.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lot. (Luke 23:34 NIV)


#2

Hi James
Here in the uk our day is Nov 11th (poppy day). I too feel an immense gratitude that others have been willing to give their lives so that I might enjoy the freedoms which I do.
I have always considered that those people who have already died are now completely in God’s hands and therefore are in the safest and most loving of hands without any need for my prayers. I doubt my prayers would have any efficacy. Perhaps if you could give me any scriptures which may support the idea of praying for the dead, that might help me learn a different viewpoint.


#3

Pilgram said:

Hi James
Here in the uk our day is Nov 11th (poppy day). I too feel an immense gratitude that others have been willing to give their lives so that I might enjoy the freedoms which I do.
I have always considered that those people who have already died are now completely in God’s hands and therefore are in the safest and most loving of hands without any need for my prayers. I doubt my prayers would have any efficacy. Perhaps if you could give me any scriptures which may support the idea of praying for the dead, that might help me learn a different viewpoint.

Hey Pilgram… good to hear from you.

I don’t know James from adam :laughing: But I think we all have different ways of dealing with the fallen… But I do think God is considerate of those who give their life for a cause. We can banter weather the cause is righteous, or totally political, but young men have been called to put their life on the line time and time again. And God help and bless them.


#4

Hi Pilgrim,

Your view is along the lines of ultra-universalism. I see numerous verses in the Bible that talk about many people suffering in the afterlife. If you are right and nobody suffers in the afterlife, then my prayers helped nobody. But if there is a need for healing in the afterlife as evidenced by Revelation 22:2 that describes the tree of life for the healing of the nations, then my prayers are beneficial.

Pax,

Jim


#5

Thanks for the response Jim and God bless you. I think I’ve not been clear. I am not an ultra-universalist and I DO believe that there will be suffering in the next life. When I said

I didn’t mean to imply that they are not suffering. I believe that they are in the safest and most loving hands and that if they need a ‘baptism of fire’ (ie some kolasis) then God will provide that for their ultimate welfare and my feeble attempt to pray for them would be borne out of complete ignorance of what they need in the afterlife. I believe that God will provide exactly what they need regardless of my prayers.
I am still interested in any scriptures which may correct my thinking ie scriptures in support of praying for the dead, however, I appreciate your previous response so we can leave it at that.

Peace

John


#6

Hi John, Thank you for clarifying that. I know of no Scripture that explicitly says to pray for the dead,while many verses exhort prayer for others. First Corinthians 15:29 refers to a baptism for the dead, but that is an obscure reference and never became a popular practice. Pax, Jim :slight_smile: