30 May 2011

Memorial Day

For many, Memorial Day is little more than a (much needed) day off of work, and an excuse to gather with friends and family, enjoying the weather and some good food. All in all, there is nothing inherently wrong with this, so long as it doesn't lead to debauchery, of course. Yet I wonder how many actually pause to ponder the meaning of this day. Is it only when you pass a cemetery and notice some gravestones graced with an American flag that you remember, "Oh yes, people died for my freedom?"

As I write this, I am looking off to my right, where, on my cluttered desk sits a worn, browned, tattered picture of my grandfather. He is a young man in this picture, taken years before I came along, and he is wearing his Navy uniform. My grandfather served his country faithfully as a Seabee in World War II and to this day I am proud of his service. Though he is no longer here to share his stories, his laughter, or his warm smile, I am reflecting today on each of those things. Even as remembering brings a tear or two to my eyes, I find myself praying, "Come quickly, Lord Jesus," for I cannot wait for the day when I will see my grandpa again.

Yet my thoughts also turn to those who are today still serving our country, whether in active duty or in the reserves and they deserve our most heartfelt thanks and respect. If you are reading this and you are a member of our armed forces, I would first of all like to say, "Thank you." Second, I would like to apologize for those in this country who have railed against your service and your dedication. Thirdly, I would like to repent on behalf of this country for so terribly abusing and perverting the freedoms for which you have fought.

Still, there is so much more to be considered today. As I pass by a cemetery covered with proudly flying flags, I am struck with one final, sobering thought. How many of those men and women, in cemeteries across the country, died fighting for freedom while never being set free themselves? How many serve and fight today for a fleeting cause, all the while ignorant of their own bondage? How many know nothing of the freedom which is in Christ Jesus?
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:34-36)
Christianity and the truth of Jesus Christ has been steadily and subtly silenced in the military for years now. The actions and loyalties of our current government have perhaps demonstrated that better than any other. How much more, then, ought we to be praying for, and witnessing to, these men and women?! The terrible irony of someone dedicating their life to fight for freedom, yet never being set free from the bondage of their own sin is a grave reason for us to weep...and to boldly and fervently witness. This Memorial Day, thank a soldier. And then ask them if they know the One to whom all service is due.

Happy Memorial Day.

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