Memorial Day

Memorial Day

Dear Friends,

Memorial Day weekend is just days away.  Today, most people see this as the start of the summer holiday season but it was originally meant as a somber reminder that freedom comes at great cost.  Throughout the history of our country brave men and women have died protecting our freedom, our way of life, in the armed forces. Their sacrifice is what we commemorate on this last weekend of May.

To our national shame, many in our country have forgotten or take for granted the lives that have purchased the freedoms that we so enjoy.  They mock and belittle the sacrifices made on foreign soil so that they would have the right to speak freely with such ignorance about those who fought and died on their behalf without even knowing who they are.

A hero is defined as a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his or her brave deeds.  Heroes come in all shapes and sizes with differing personalities.  Heroes, I believe, are made in an instant of decision.  That decision is usually about putting the needs of others above their own, counting the lives and welfare of others as greater than their own and worthy of sacrifice.  It is a decision of humility.

Soldiers in the various branches of the United States Military lay down their lives again and again in the name of freedom.  These men and women choose to make the ultimate sacrifice not just for their country, but for their friends and family as well.  In John 15:13, Jesus called that type of sacrifice a love that surpasses all others.  “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

Jesus showed that same selfless love when He suffered and died to save mankind from their sin.  In response to that sacrifice and out of gratitude for it we as Christians are called upon to follow Him as soldiers of His kingdom, “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus… his [the soldier’s] aim is to please the one who enlisted him” 2 Tim. 2:3-4.

From the very earliest days of the church, believers have put on the “armor of God” (Eph. 5:10-18) and have marched into the enemy lines, fighting for the eternal lives of others they may never meet.  Thousands die each and every year for the cause of Christ unknown, unsung, without memorial. 

There’s a reward for them beyond this life, however.  King David understood that this world is but a temporary posting for a soldier of the Lord.  He wrote in Psalm 27:3-4 “Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.  One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek:  that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”

This weekend, while you are getting ready for school to be out and vacations to begin, take a moment to remember those who have fought and died so that others, in this country, can go on living and enjoying freedom.  These men and women who have laid down their lives in active duty will never return to their family and friends, nor would they see the day that the fighting came to an end.  Our freedoms have been won and protected at great cost.  Never take them, or the men and women who continue to meet threats both foreign and domestic, for granted. Never forget.

Only by Grace!

Pastor Mike