“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

1 John 3:16

Today is the day known in our country as Memorial Day.  For too long, this day has been to many Americans simply a marker of the beginning of summer and little more.  But I wonder if perhaps this year, is different.  Maybe we have slowed down just long enough to consider that perhaps the day could and should mean so much more.  It was created, after all, to be a solemn day to remember the fallen soldiers who gave their life in service to their country and her people.  

Author Beth Patch once wrote, “when we look into the eyes of those who still mourn these once vibrant men and women, we often sense their loneliness and pain. We hear them choke back tears as they simply say the ranks and names of their military brothers and sisters at a Memorial Day service. White gloves, dress uniforms, rigid posture, and perfectly precisioned salutes represent the reverence and respect flowing from within. Those who have been personally affected by war understand and appreciate this day of remembrance.”

Though it may not have been their intention, their sacrifice follows the example of Jesus Christ laying down His life for our freedom.  Both were done independently of the worthiness of the those they sacrificed so much for.  In this way, both demonstrated the Agape love that scripture speaks of so often.  What a gift!

So this Memorial Day the invitation is simple.  Mark the day with those you love.  Shop if that is your thing.  Eat to your hearts content.  Be glad that another summer is here.  But above all else, take the time to remember those who have made such things possible.  Freedom is never free and yours cost someone everything.  

Let us Pray.  God we thank you for the men and women who have gone before us that laid down their lives so that we might be free.  We are grateful for their courage, their passion, and their love.  Thank you also for the sacrifice of your son Jesus who gives to us an eternal freedom found in the hope of a life lived forever with you.  Amen.