Remembering Sacrifice, Celebrating Victory
Three score and eight years ago this week, the Allied Forces landed on the beaches of Normandy, France. In one of history’s bloodiest battles, young men sacrificed life and limb to puncture and penetrate the great Nazi domination of Europe. As the blood flowed and soaked the beaches of Omaha and Utah, among others, a line was drawn in the sand that forever changed history.
General Dwight Eisenhower commissioned his troops, in part, with this charge: “You will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.” Annually, this week is commemorated with military honors to those who served, recollections of the terrible price, and charges to never forget June 6, 1944, known as D-Day.
Similarly, nearly two millennia ago, another line was drawn in the dirt of a hill outside Jerusalem. An itinerant Jewish preacher stretched out his life and limbs to puncture and penetrate the gates of death and Hell. As blood flowed from his head, hands, feet, and side this God-man, who many already believed was Jesus the Christ, forever changed history.
Luke records in his Gospel that after taking the cup and the bread, Jesus commissioned his disciples to “do this in remembrance of me” (22:19). Later, Luke described how the early church gathered weekly on the “first day of the week” (or Sunday) to commemorate Christ’s death and resurrection (Acts 20:7). Since the first century, the church of Christ has paused as a part of its worship to consume the bread, representing Christ’s body, and drink the cup, symbolizing his blood. This is a solemn occasion, as sacred as any honorable memorial for man.
As we gather today, joining with millions of Christians from around the globe, in remembrance, reflection, and repentance, let us also recall an additional charge by General Eisenhower to his D-Day troops: “The free men of the world are marching together to victory. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory.”
No doubt, this week will prove an epic battle against the enemy. The combat will be personal and painful, and for some, will include persecution. And yet Christians possess full confidence that no weapon formed against us will prosper, no power or principality can separate our communion with God, and, ultimately, we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ.
So as we share in this memorial of sacrifice, let us now look forward without fear, dedicated to our sacred duties to willingly accept nothing less than full victory for the kingdom.
For, in reality, every Sunday is D-Day.
Rick Chromey is a pastor and professor living in Eagle, Idaho; www.rickchromey.com.