By Rick Chromey
This weekend marks the unofficial beginning of summer, but it’s also when we pause to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
Since 1970, the last Monday of May has been designated as Memorial Day.
It’s an annual sacred holiday to remember our fallen soldiers.
Jesus taught his disciples, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Friends will do that for friends. A friend will honorably take a bullet for a buddy, but those who serve in our military often die for people they don’t know. They shed their blood to defend a nation, an idea, a command or cause.
To give your life on the battlefield is one of life’s greatest sacrifices.
It’s a sacrifice Jesus understands.
Two thousand years ago on a dusty hill outside of Jerusalem, a spiritual battle for the heart of man was waged. Jesus, the God-Man, took on the entire host of Hell in a war that changed the course of history. As the blood flowed from his wounds, Jesus stretched his hands wide and laid down his life for mankind. It was accomplished according to plan, as Paul wrote to the Romans:
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-8).
On this Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, we come together to remember not just the brave sacrifices of the soldiers who died for our nation, but the Christ who carved a way through Hell so we could live eternally with him. He did it out of love for his children.
Soldiers sometimes pick up souvenirs from the battlefield to remind them of what occurred. Similarly, Jesus chose bread and fruit of the vine to be mementos of the battle he fought on Calvary’s crest. These sacred emblems remind us to evaluate our hearts, to look back in memory, around in community, and forward in hope.
The war is over, friends. The fallen Christ is risen in power and glory!
And that means, for the Christian, every Sunday is a Memorial Day.
Rick Chromey is president of MANNA! Educational Services International (www.mannasolutions.org) in Meridian, Idaho.