My eyes open. I squint at the alarm clock. It isn’t going off. Did I forget to set it? Am I late for work? What day is it? Wait, last night I told myself that I could sleep in today, but why? The sun shines into my room through the blinds and calls my eyes to the calendar on the wall. Today is Memorial Day. It's the epic conclusion to my three day weekend.
There’s nothing like a national holiday to recharge the engines. No obligations. No expectations. It’s an opportunity to get things done or do absolutely nothing. Step outside into a day of leisure; the sounds of a baseball game, children playing in the park, the drums of a parade, the smell of your neighbor’s BBQ and tunes of the ice cream truck. Today you open up the swimming pool, mow the lawn, take the top down on the convertible, mix a fresh batch of lemonade and relax outside with the family. It's a day of food and fellowship, rest and relaxation.
Anything is possible today. The world is my oyster, but in my heart I know that it’s only because of those who stood to fight for this. Today is no mere calendar date! It’s a day to remember those who sacrificed for our freedom. This is more than a day for hot dogs, discount sales and cat naps. It’s a chance- an opportunity to truly honor our warriors as we reflect on their unwavering bravery. Today, we show our gratitude for the lives laid down- demonstrations of love by friends we will never meet.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15: 13 (NIV)
It’s too easy to let this pass us by. We bleed our red, white and blue. We cheer for our safety, our wealth and our power. We proudly turn the key in up our pick-up trucks, slap an eagle and a flag to our bumper and run out to pick up the apple pie for dessert, but we miss the mark. We can display patriotism, but forget to remember. We sing “God Bless America” and recite the “Pledge of Allegiance,” but disregard that freedom comes from God alone. Remember, the bricks of this country were laid by God-fearing men. Remember that upon lives lost do we stand alive today. As you gaze upon fields of white crosses, may your heart be drawn to the one who hung from a cross so that your soul may go free. Thank you to the warriors who fight so that I may live unafraid of darkness or sword. Thank you to my God who has always fought beside them and behind them.
Freedom is not permission for selfishness. It’s not a card to be played when our lifestyle choices are opposed. Freedom derives from a holy God. It is a reward won by the truest warrior. Freedom is a gift from the Savior- who wrestled our promise of eternity from the hands of an enemy who craves our souls. Do not forget the platform of faith we once stood upon. Never forget the lives lost in defense of it. Do not take lightly the pledge we still make today…”One nation, under God, indivisible…” Our warrior God still fights for us today. In His name, by His strength, with His purpose, all victories are assured.
“...The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
Isaiah 40: 28-29 (NIV)
“All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s....”
1 Samuel 17: 45-47 (NIV)
“...Leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.” Romans 12: 19 (NIV)