Today is Memorial Day. It is a day when tens of thousands of small American flags mark the final resting place of soldiers who paid the ultimate price; who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Memorial Day began in 1868 as a day to remember the fallen in America’s civil war. But since then, Memorial Day expanded as a day to remember and honor all those who served and died defending our country over the years.
But a day of remembrance is not unique around the world. Many nations set aside one day to remember those who served and fell. The list includes England, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada just to name a few.
Neither is a day of remembrance a modern institution. There are several examples of memorials established in the Bible.
- Rainbow. God established the rainbow as a sign of a covenant with Noah that He would not flood the earth again (Genesis 9:8-17).
- Passover. The final plague visited upon the Egyptians brought the angel of death to every home in the land except for those with a mark of blood on the doorposts. Upon seeing the blood on the doorpost, the angel passed over the house. Passover feasts today are celebrations in remembrance of this event (Exodus 12, 13).
- Crossing the Jordan. The Lord caused the water of the Jordan River to stop so the Israelites could pass over with the Ark of the Covenant into the Promised Land. A member of each tribe brought a stone out of the river and stacked on the far side of the river as a memorial to future generations of what the Lord had done that day (Joshua 3).
- Communion. Paul passed on Jesus’ teaching at the Last Supper as he explained both the purpose and procedure of celebrating communion. It is a memorial done in remembrance of Jesus’ life and death on the cross (1 Corinthians 11:17-26).
Each of these Biblical examples is a reminder to future generations of God’s love and provision for His people.
Memorial Day is a reminder of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country.
The Greatest Expression of Love is Sacrifice
Paul, in his letter to the Romans, explained some might sacrifice their lives for a just man or a good man.
“For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die” (Romans 5:7).
But, said Paul, God proves His love for us and has sacrificed even more for us.
“But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” (Romans 5:8).
Jesus said the greatest expression of love is in the willingness to lay down one’s own life for his friends.
“No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends” John 15:13).
Jesus said that knowing the fate of his followers; that many of them would lay down their lives because of their love for Him and one another.
Jesus said that knowing his own fate on the cross loomed ever closer. Yet, He went to the cross. He sacrificed His life for us that those who believe in Him might have eternal life.
Let Us Remember
This Memorial Day let us remember the importance of sacrifice.
First, it is fitting and proper that we remember and honor all those who came before us and laid down their lives defending our freedom. And in the words of Abraham Lincoln let us, “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.”
Let us never forget the valiant sacrifice of all those who gave the last full measure of devotion to this country that we might live free.
Second, remember that God loves us so much that He sent His one and only Son to die for us. There is no greater love and no greater sacrifice than this.
In remembering Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, let us remember whose we are!
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Category: Personal Development | Humility