Memorial Day

Someone.  Died.  For.  You. 

Let that sink in.   That’s hard for me to get my head around.   I feel good about myself if I let someone go in front of me in line at Wal-Mart.  Big sacrifice, right?  I pat myself on the back if I give to some worthy cause – as if that’s not the least any of us should do. 

But lay down my life?  Make my wife a widow and my kids orphans for someone else?  I cannot really understand that kind of sacrifice. 

Jesus commanded his followeres to love each other.  And then He went on to say that love doesn’t really get any bigger than laying down your life for another person.  Then He did it Himself.  Talk about practicing what you preach.

I’m blown away by two incredible truths this morning. 

1.  Someone who didn’t even know me died for me.  They volunteered or were drafted into service and went and gave their life in a foreign country so that I can be free to write these words and enjoy life with my family.  I’ve never met most of them, and many of them lived decades before me.  Yet, I still get to enjoy the rewards of their sacrifice just the same.  I can live the American dream because they died the American death – a noble sacrifice for freedom that represents everything good about this country. 

2.  Someone who did know me died for me.  Jesus did know, does know me, knows every selfish thought and act, has seen me at my absolute worst, and yet, He still paid the price for me.  The Bible says that while I was the most rotten version of myself, God demonstrated His love by Jesus’ death.  He looked full on into the face of sin and didn’t flinch.   I get to live God’s dream for my life, because Jesus died God’s death for me – a sacrifice that goes far beyond American borders and even this life.

Last night I attended a neighborhood cookout with a guy who’s going to be deployed overseas soon.  He has kids the same age as mine.  Hopefully we will see him return home soon, but just the going, the leaving, the serving – that’s a sacrifice that should be honored.

I think it’s weird Memorial Day seems to be all about cookouts and home improvement projects and taking advantage of  sales at the mall.  I think most years we just blow off what this day is really about.  But this year, for me, my neighbor has put it in a new light.

Someone.  Died.  For.  Me. 

I may not get it right most years, but today, today I’m going to remember.

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