In worship this Sunday at North Lake I want to share a four minute video, an excerpt of a longer interview done by a television station with a WWII veteran. Russ Schuster was the commander of a PT boat in the English Channel in the summer of 1944, including D-Day and the Normandy Invasion. Russ died three years ago at the age of ninety-two. He was a beloved member of the congregation I served in Cincinnati. Russ was incredibly handy and resourceful. He had built his own home in wooded lot on the cul de sac at the end of our street. For many decades he was the “first string” church craftsman, tackling countless improvements.
Russ was also a dear friend who helped me with numerous projects in our home, big jobs like a complete kitchen renovation and a bathroom makeover. I loved working alongside him. I learned so much from him. Sometimes, when he was in the right frame of mind, he would talk about his service and friends in the Navy, including sixteen in his squadron who were killed in one incident with a German minesweeper in 1944.
People like Russ Schuster help us appreciate the significance and the depth of emotions attached to Memorial Day. The survivors (battle comrades and family members) help us all to remember and give thanks for those who stepped into the fray or onto the boat to protect our freedom. How important it is to remember!
Our Christian faith remembers and celebrates the ultimate sacrifice made by Jesus Christ for our freedom. Indeed, many places in scripture emphasize the importance of remembering and passing along the memories. Let’s consider some of the implications in Sunday worship as we read Joshua 4:20-24. These five verses pertain not to a battle but to the crossing of the Jordan River, an historic event to be remembered and celebrated from generation to generation.
If you are in Central Florida this weekend, I would love to see you at North Lake on Sunday. Wherever you are, may it be a time for reflection and gratitude.
Dr. Jeffrey A. Hosmer
North Lake Presbyterian Church
Lady Lake, FL