Let’s Stop and Remember

May 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

Arlington“At the heart of the cross is Christ’s stance of not letting the other remain an enemy and of creating space in himself for the offender to come in.”

Miroslav Volf, Exclusion & Embrace

It is Memorial Day weekend. As a Christ-follower it is not uncommon for me to find myself involved in a conversation over the merits and sadnesses of war. No one I know would argue that every war the US has been involved in was what the Church father Augustine would call ‘just.’ But this weekend is not about that. It is to remember that many made the ‘ultimate sacrifice’ for their country in giving their lives.

Through years and generations our Nation has found itself embroiled in warfare, whether in world wars, regional conflicts, or even a Civil War. Everyone knows the sick, heartbreaking feeling of watching flag-draped caskets unloaded from transport planes. A simple history lesson of Gettysburg is enough to elicit the deepest of emotions over lives lost. Sacrifice is nobel, but death is brutal.

Each time a friend’s child or spouse goes overseas to fight, we hold our collective breath for fear that the worst news will one day find its way home to their families. I hate that. WreathsWe all do.

But this weekend, let’s put the debate aside. Let’s thank God for those who gave ‘their last full measure of devotion.’ Let’s honor their sacrifices and long together for the day when all wars will end.

Let’s not get lost in political madness and philosophical diversions. Let’s not argue the merits of war versus pacifism. Let’s not be ‘Hawks’ or ‘Doves,’ Liberals or Conservatives. Let’s just stop and acknowledge that many have died. To their parents, their siblings and their children, loss is loss.

If you have ever visited the Viet Nam wall, then you know that one can hardly do so without discovering elderly parents or aging spouses and children – in tears – revisiting their grief and loss over the sacrifice of their loved ones.

MonumentSo let’s reflect on the fact our daughters and sons have given themselves for others, and let’s acknowledge that we are the beneficiaries of their sacrifices, and be thankful.

Together let’s believe that it wasn’t political posturing, or bloodlust that drew these precious individuals, but the sincere belief that even if they died, their sacrifice would have counted for something towards a more peaceful world.

And in remembering what has been given by men and women through the years in war and conflict, here in this broken, and often war-torn world, let’s consider Jesus, who ensures that one day all wars will cease, and because in Him, our war with the Father has been settled.

In His Sacrifice…

This is our good news.

Happy Memorial Day.

peace.

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Why We Celebrate & Why We Grieve

May 7, 2011 § 2 Comments

What do we do with the death of Osama bin Laden? He is dead, and if anyone in modern history was desired dead, bin Laden is the man. He, more than any other, is responsible for the loss of life of thousands in the 9/11 terrorist massacre, back in 2001. He, more than any other, was the mouthpiece of one of the most violent expressions of extremism in religion. Many believe him to have been the face of evil.

It might be good here to state a few things: I am proud – of our President, of our Country, of our Armed Forces, and of our resolve. We can get embroiled in all kinds of controversy and criticism, but at the end of the day – for me, a Christ-follower – all I have is the scriptures, and they clearly teach that God has ordained those who lead the nation of which I have citizenship. That’s all I need.

It was gutsy for a Republican President to put a bounty on bin Laden’s head, and it was gutsy for a Democrat President to give the go-ahead on executing the mission that brought him to justice. My advice: Don’t let partisan politics pollute you – It’s ugly and all of it, on both sides of the aisle, gets nasty. It’s better to trust a Sovereign God than put hope in fellow sinners…

So, with that said, how did you react when you heard the news? Did you celebrate? Did you grieve? Were you conflicted? And how are we supposed to respond?

Ezekiel’s prophecy (33:11) offers insight by giving us a glimpse into God’s heart – “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live…”

Perhaps Martin Luther King put it best in one of my all-time favorite messages, entitled, The Strength to Love“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

So is there room to celebrate? I would say yes, absolutely, in fact I personally was thrilled upon discovering of bin Laden’s death. Thrilled because justice was done, and because closure was accomplished for a lot of families. Thrilled because a monster is no longer among us. And thrilled because I was and continue to be overwhelmed with pride in our amazing Armed Forces.

But the Gospel compels me to grieve too, as God grieves. The death of the wicked serves as evidence that something is terribly wrong with our world – it is broken and irreparably damaged by sin. Little boys and girls that grow up to be murderers do so because a world that was created to be lovely has been turned into an incubation chamber for evil.

Why would God not grieve? Why would we not?

So I celebrate… and grieve – But I do so with hope, because my solace is found in the One that took both the reason for and the guilt of a world of sorrow along with the hope of a day when sadness and death would cease, completely upon Himself. I can celebrate Jesus. And that is enough.

There is no better news…

peace.

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