Love you all, praying for you. This is an important read. Please take the time to do it, and to ask God to reveal what is your part.
Memorial Day. Do we ever really take the time to reflect and remember? (in the busyness of this day – the picnics and parties, the grilling and sunshine.) What are we really remembering? It’s interesting what doesn’t get a memorial day. Major accomplishments, there is no Memorial Day for Super Bowls – I doubt most people could even remember the Super Bowl Champion from 3 years ago. There is no Memorial Day for those who hit it big in the stock market, or who created great companies, or who clawed their way to the top… Memorial Day is a time to remember those who sacrificed their life for the benefit of someone else. Mother’s Day is a memorial day. Someone who is always sacrificing their life for someone else. Memorial Day is a day to remember Sacrifice. Sacrifice – to suffer to be lost, for the sake of obtaining something. That is the something worth remembering. Today we remember those who sacrificed all.
Greater love hath no man than this, than a man lay down his life for his friend. And some go even further than that – for strangers… or sinners. I couldn’t help but noticing that the heroic sacrifices of all the veterans who didn’t return – came from a principle and a character that was even beyond them. Sacrifice is a Divine characteristic - not a human one. It comes from being created in God’s image. What made them do it? Duty? Honor? Brainwashing? Coercion? They gave their lives for a principle, a dream - Freedom. Freedom from governments who want to control people – They gave their life for the desire and the longing of Liberty.
Funny how sacrifice and freedom so often go together. Jesus died so we would be set free - no longer slaves to sin, His sacrifice purchased our freedom. To remember the sacrifice of fallen heroes or of the Savior of the world – does not dishonor one or the other. What they did came from the same desire. The defeat of the enemies of freedom. Whether nations with tyrannical rulers, or the original tyrant against God himself. The Sacrifice we remember on this day – has given us the life we can now live, if we choose.
So to remember is to appreciate, but to truly honor… requires more. What should we do, given the greatest sacrifice of others? or the greatest sacrifice ever - by the Savior of the world? Our sacred duty is to Live It And Preserve It. Abraham Lincoln tried to capture our duty to those who died in the service of their duty. He did it in his address at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Abraham Lincoln’s Memorial Day speech declared how to honor the fallen heroes of this nation. It is the same way that we honor the fallen hero (and the Risen Hero) of our faith. The One who Died and Rose Again. They did their duty. What is our duty? Not just to remember - but to maintain. Don’t go back. These who died didn’t give their life for socialism, or communism, or political correctness, or government control. They didn't give their lives for name calling and slander, and pitting race, or gender or economic class against another – they gave their lives fighting against nations who did those things - to preserve our Freedom – Liberty – Unity. Living together with fellow Americans – even those who don’t see everything the way you do – so that the freedom which was so hard-fought to win, doesn’t slip from our fingers, or get tossed back by our own hand.
Abraham Lincoln explained even more explicitly – in his Lyceum Address at Springfield in 1838 – where he spoke of our duty to fallen heroes. “… This task of gratitude to our fathers, justice to ourselves, duty to posterity, and love for our species in general, all imperatively require us faithfully to perform.
How then shall we perform it?--At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?-- Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!--All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.
At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”
Abraham Lincoln here, as He did years later in His Gettysburg Address – declared our duty to those “heroes who have fallen.” He wants us to be the “heroes who have not fallen” those upon whom the mantle falls - to maintain what those who gave the ultimate sacrifice – died for.
Praying that you will do your duty to live in the freedom that those who died, sacrificed their lives for. If they were Americans – that you would ask God to help you stand for the principles of Liberty – so that we would never become those nations who remove freedom and liberty from their people. And more importantly that you will do your duty to the One who Gave His Life For You. Share the Gospel - The Good News of Salvation with others… and always stand in the grace purchased for you by Christ’s blood on the cross – grace that helps you say “No” to ungodly passions and lusts - that you would never again go back to live in the life of sin – from which you were set free. This is how we honor those who gave all for America. And this is how we honor the One who gave His life – for the sins of the world – so that we will be - forever part of His Eternal Kingdom – where love rules and reigns, and wickedness is no more.
Love you all,
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