This weekend is Memorial Day weekend here in the United States. Memorial Day, originally named Decoration Day, is a day of rightful remembrance of all who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Many churches will pause Sunday morning to recognize those who have and who are currently serving in one of the branches of America’s Military.
I’ve struggled over the years of how much patriotism is implanted into some worship services this time of year. The church gathers to worship God not man’s achievements and service to each other. However, many Christians have served in this country’s Armed Forces. I have several veterans in my family including a great uncle who just turned 100 years old, a World War II veteran.
I have no problem recognizing our veterans on Sunday morning. That is, as long as the patriotism is not overdone where it outshines the purpose of the gathered church. But the fact is, serving in a branch of the military is a great service whether one is a Christian or not. Laying down one’s life for others, or even training and preparing to do so, is a great sacrifice.
I want to thank all veterans who have served this country. God has certainly used their sacrifices to make this country great. I want to especially remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
War is hell and that’s easy for me to say from a comfortable distance. With war comes death as Edith Cavell reminds us as she points to the One who brought good news by making the ultimate sacrifice to win the ultimate war with death and hell.
Edith Cavell, the British nurse killed by Germans in World War I, was captured. Just before the bandage was placed over her eyes for the firing squad, she said: “I am glad to die for my country. But I realize that patriotism is not enough.” Then she gave clear and definite testimony to her personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and assurance of salvation. She died under the firing squad in 1915. 1
- Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times. Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc. ↩