Memorial Day in the USA was first established near the end of the Civil War to remember the lives of the soldiers who died in the conflict. These men paid the ultimate price to ensure the freedom of not only the millions bound in slavery then, but also the countless millions of unborn generations yet to come. We still remember their sacrifice and the sacrifices of every man and woman who has given their lives to protect the USA.
When I think about Memorial Day, I can’t help but think of another man who gave his life so that those in bondage could be free. His name was Jesus Christ. And his mission to this world was simple: break the hold of sin in our life and restore us to communion with our Triune God. When speaking to his disciples, Christ said: ‘Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’ (John 15:13 NIV).
At the cross, Christ would show us how great his love for all humanity really was. He paid the ultimate price for our redemption and reunion with God. But unlike those soldiers who laid down their lives and were entombed, the grave had no hold over our Lord. He rose from the grave and dwelt among us, continuing to demonstrate his great love. This example is what prompted Paul to write: ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Cor. 15:55-57).
That victory includes all who died in service for their country. So while we honour those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our nation and our freedom, let’s also remember the One who gave us victory over death and truly set us free. That victory and freedom means that all those who have died in service to their country will live again. And that’s something we all can remember and rejoice in.
Presented by Joseph Tkach
About the writer:
Joseph Tkach is the retired President and Board Chair of Grace Communion International and resides in Oregon, USA.
Word of Life each Sunday is taken from ‘Speaking of Life’, (https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/), a public resource video on the USA website of Grace Communion International.
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