As I’m writing this, it is Memorial Day. All over the US people are taking time from work to enjoy time with their families or to honor those lost in war and the pursuit of peace, perhaps with prayer vigils or moments of silence or listening to the stories of those who have fought wars.

memorial day headstone

All weekend our neighborhood has been a-buzz with the sound of lawnmowers and weed eaters (except our yard, but that’s a different story). I suspect that very soon driveways will be filling up with cars and grills will begin proclaiming their owner’s manhood and grill skills. Soon enough the parks will be full of laughing children and parents.

Some of these people will be honoring or remembering fallen soldiers. Some will just be taking advantage of time off from work. Some will still be working. And some will have empty places where a son or daughter or spouse or parent used to sit – now not part of the celebration either through death, distance, or estrangement.

Quite honestly, I don’t like war. I think that fighting to produce peace is at cross purposes. But I understand that we live in a fallen world and that Christ has called us to be peacemakers. To defend (there’s a fighting word – even if it doesn’t involve guns) widows, orphans, immigrants, and the oppressed.

Christ came to fight a battle. His weapons and purpose were different. And he gave his life rather than taking one. I am so thankful for his sacrifice as well as the sacrifices of the many who have given their lives to share the Gospel as well as those who have given their lives to secure freedoms.

Are you willing to join me in thanking God for the sacrifices of those who have gone before?

Lord, thank you for today. Thank you for time off from work and the ability to do stuff with my family. Thank you for those who have laid down their lives so that I can have these freedoms. And thank you for those who laid down their lives that I might have a rich heritage of faith.

Grant that, as we spend time enjoying our freedoms that we might also honor those who have gone before for all their sacrifices.

Those who have fought wars on foreign soil. Those who have fought for freedom and civil rights. Those who have laid down their lives in pursuit of truth and justice. Those who have laid aside all personal glory for the joy of knowing you. Those who, even now, are oppressed, in prison, unjustly charged, and facing death.

Grant that we, your people, might leave a legacy that will honor you for, in, and through generation after generation for your glory.

Photo credit: Carl Wycoff

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