The greatness of any society or people rests on their ability to remember their past and what was sacrificed to create and defend it. Surely this is true for our Nation on this Memorial Day Weekend. No nation has sacrificed so much for the cause of freedom and justice as the United States. America has sent more of her youth to die on foreign battle fields than any other nation in human history. If you wonder about this, simply watch this video on American military cemeteries outside of this county at www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWB5RXnAecE. This video is a sobering reminder of what made this Nation great and that this greatness is rooted and grounded in our sacrifice for others.
Now this great and sacrificial character of the American people did not come out of nowhere. The Lord Jesus Christ founded this nation for His honor and glory from the beginning. As a result of our Biblical roots and spiritual foundation, the concept of self-sacrifice came easier to us than any other country. What a breathtaking and moving thing it is to see the millions of crosses that blanket our military cemeteries in this country and around the world. These crosses act as a singular testament to our Lord and His atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world on that Original Cross. Every American soldier who ever died in combat fulfilled the Lord Jesus's prophecy about His own life as He approached the Cross in John 15:13 and said, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."
On this Memorial Day weekend, we stop and bow before the Lord and thank Him for the privilege of being Americans that still understand these awesome truths about sacrifice that have changed the world for the good. We stop and remember the hundreds of thousands of men and woman who died so that we might live in a nation free from the power of human sin that seeks to bring tyranny and misery upon others. We stop and remember the young men and women who didn't come home from war and perhaps ended their lives in a muddy field soaked with their blood. We remember those who didn't get to have the good life that so many of us value. This weekend we are thankful to those who showed us that there was and are some things worth dying for in life. After all, if we can't find something or someone to die for, then we most likely haven't ever really found something worth living for....... and life ends up meaningless.
Sadly, there are many today who think everything in life is really about them and what they want to do. The concept of their self-sacrifice for the nation or anything bigger than themselves is foreign to them. Some of these Americans don't really care about things like Memorial Day and may even have a disdain for the military. For them, the nation exists to serve them and their interests. Memorial Day is more likely to be about a party or time off from work. Not surprisingly, many of these individuals seem to seek out and find corrupt politicians who promise them more and more "goodies" from the public treasury that came from someone else's sacrifice. Former President Kennedy's famous line in his Inaugural Address in 1961, "Ask not what your Country can do for you, ask what you can do for your Country" has just become political rhetoric to many.
As we stop and reflect on America this Memorial Day weekend, it is a good time to take stock of our nation and our lives. America has been a nation filled with wonderful people who have loved and understood this concept of self-sacrifice. However, as new generations are emerging, we are seeing a dramatic shift in thinking that is moving people from sacrifice to self, from true freedom to a desire to be ruled over by a growing government that controls our freedoms instead of guaranteeing and protecting them.
Once enough Americans give up their love for freedom and willingness to sacrifice for it, America as we know it will end. The single greatest sign of this rapidly approaching reality is the fact that religious liberty for the military is now largely being controlled by political correctness and not our Constitution. The very people that have given and are giving their lives for our religious freedom are beginning to lose it themselves. America's military is the most controlled and restricted institution in the Nation today when it comes to religious liberty. Recent court cases have documented how soldiers have been discharged from the service for simply sharing their faith. As the Lord Jesus is slowly being pushed out of Memorial Day weekends and the military, so too we will begin to lose our future freedoms and liberty as a people.
All of this leads us back to a fitting conclusion at the foot of the Cross. Only the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ can set us free from sin, provide forgiveness, freedom and eternal life. As a result, EVERY day is Memorial Day for the Christian. Every day is an opportunity to remember and cherish our Lord's sacrifice for us and this world. So let's lift high His Cross and renew our commitment to never forget those who gave their lives for us as a testimony and witness to our Lord and His everlasting love and sacrifice for us.