This week we celebrate Memorial Day. So, to start I would like to give special thanks to those who have sacrificed their lives...
This week we celebrate Memorial Day. So, to start I would like to give special thanks to those who have sacrificed their lives and the families who sacrificed for our freedoms. Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars, including World War II, The Vietnam War, The Korean War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. So, thanks to the families of our military. We can freely speak about our faith in Jesus Christ because of your sacrifice.
But as Christians, we also know that Memorial Day has a deeper meaning for us. It reminds us of the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us on the cross. He laid down his life for our sins, so that we could have eternal life with him. He is the true hero, the true savior, the true king. The Bible tells us in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Jesus showed us this great love by dying for us, even when we were his enemies. He calls us his friends and invites us to follow him and love one another as he has loved us. But how do we do that? How do we show our love for Jesus and for others? How do we live in a way that honors his sacrifice and reflects his glory?
Firstly, we can be faithful. Those who have served in the military have shown us what it means to be faithful to a cause, to a mission, to a duty. They have sworn an oath to defend our nation and our freedom, and they have kept it until the end. They have been loyal to their comrades, their leaders, their families. They have not wavered in their commitment, even in the face of danger, hardship, or death. Likewise we can be faithful to Jesus by obeying his commands, by following his will, by trusting his promises. We can be faithful to his church by serving one another, by supporting one another, by praying for one another. We can be faithful to our families by being a light in times of trouble, by being there for them. By this we will reflect Christs love onto them and bring God glory.
Secondly, we can be courageous. Joshua chapter 1 says multiple times to be strong and courageous. Those who have served in the military have shown us what it means to be courageous in the face of fear, to be brave in the face of danger, to be bold in the face of opposition. In fact, History shows in Joshua 3-4 that Joshua and those with him, had dared to take the ark of the covenant into the Jordan river at flood stage upon Gods command. As they did the waters piled up in a heap and they walked on dry ground which allowed the Israelites to cross the waters courageously and safely. Because of this Joshua set up a memorial of stones so future generations would be told of the great works of God. This gives us an example that we can be more courageous as we trust God to lead us. Be courageous for Jesus by standing up for his truth, by speaking up for his name, by living out his values. By defending doctrine, by promoting unity, by advancing the church’s mission.
Thirdly, we can be hopeful. Those who have served in the military have shown us what it means to be hopeful in the midst of despair, to be optimistic in the midst of adversity, to be confident in the midst of uncertainty. They have fought for a better future, a brighter tomorrow, a greater good. They have not given hope, even when it seemed impossible. We can be hopeful in Jesus because he has risen from the dead, he has defeated sin and death, he has secured our salvation. We can be hopeful in his church because he has promised to build her up, to protect her from harm, to present her as his bride. We can be hopeful in our families because he has given us his grace, his wisdom, and his love to share with them. We can be hopeful for our neighbors knowing that God will use his children to minister to them. and honor those who have died for our country. But let us also remember and honor the one who died so we may have forgiveness of sins and eternal life with our God.