Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. - John 15:13 (ESV)
Today is the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend with the official holiday falling tomorrow, the last Monday in May. It's a day of remembrance and thanks, a day when all good Americans honor those who fell in battle in the many wars that America has fought. Just as the verse above from the Gospel of John says, there is no greater gift that can be given than to lay down a life for friends. Hundreds of thousands of Americans, many really still boys, answered the call of their nation in time of need. Those who never returned went on their journey knowing what might await them, yet they courageously gave their lives so that we could remain free. All Americans need to understand that, recognize that, and honor them on this day which is meant for them and their memory.
Now we Christians and all other good people of this country don't want war. We don't seek it, yet generation after generation we answer the call of our country when it is necessary. I hope that everyone will honestly pray that war can be avoided whenever possible but, at the same time, we have to recognize that as long as Satan is free to roam through the airways of earth, war will happen on occasion. Evil infects the soul of some and it begets evil in their actions. War is just one of the outcomes and Christians know that the only real solution and end to war will come when Christ Jesus returns to rule the earth. Until that time, we must continue to try and find peaceful solutions, but never be afraid to fight if the cause is just and right.
At my little country church, tomorrow we will begin service by inviting members to give the name, service branch and conflict of someone who was dear to them who departed this life due to war. After each name is announced, the bell is tolled once in his or her honor, and it is a very touching and moving experience, coupled with the singing of patriotic hymns that meet the occasion. Whatever your way to honor those killed by war, I hope you will take the time to honor them. After all, they are our true heroes since they never came home. They gave the ultimate sacrifice and we should always be grateful for their gift of their lives for our freedom.
Dear Lord, We thank you for inspiring us to honor these heroes on a special day with your guidance and love. Help us to learn from the mistakes that have so often caused horrific wars and try and find peaceful solutions to avoid them. But also keep us strong and courageous to stand for what is right and good when we must. We know that until you banish Satan from his perch on earth, war will never be permanently eliminated. We ask in the name of Jesus Christ, Our Savior and Lord, Amen.