Memorial Day

Today is “Memorial Day”; a time when we reflect on those who died and who were wounded in combat while fighting for our country. We, also, think about those who served and who left the armed service unscathed; yet who fought bravely to assure that our nation would remain free.

My father lied about his age and entered the second world war at the age of 16! He was no coward! He served on a destroyer escort and saw some of the most ferocious sea battles of that conflict; even getting two purple hearts in the process!

Historians go back and forth with their opinions on whether the wars we fought in were justified or not. In my era, the validity of the Vietnam War was hotly contested; so much so that my own decorated father refused to allow me to get into it; even tearing up my enlistment papers!

And as we go back through the history of our nation, war after the war was fought, both on our country’s land and off it, taking the lives of hundreds of thousands of young men and women. Was it worth it? As we look out today we see that we are definitely the freest nation in the world. Our republic, though tottering at this point due to Socialism, still stands as “the land of the free and the home of the brave”. People can still express themselves in any way they desire (as long as they do no physical harm to another). Amazing.

But the taking, and giving, of lives in war means nothing to God as far as being justified before Him. Don’t get me wrong. We truly are thankful for those deaths but only those works done by believers shall be a “memorial” before Him on the Last Day. The “good” works (as seen by society) are actually stained by sin (Isaiah 64:6). The works done by Christians, seen by God as good, are actually done by the Holy Spirit Himself in the believer (Philippians 2: 13).

God has used the greed and hate of men (the cause of wars) to bring the Good News to untold thousands. The native Indians of North America had never heard of the triune God until Christians came from Europe to claim their “wild land”. The natives of Africa only heard of the Good News after traders realized that gold and ivory abounded there! In the meantime, the Lord has blessed us here, in the United States, with a republic that guarantees the Church religious freedom. So, on this Memorial Day we are thankful that through all the intentions of men, both godly and evil, we are still free. “O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?” Yes, indeed….In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 😊

Pastor William C. Mack