Memorial Day: A Day about US and Not about You or Me

In  the last thirty or so minutes of this day, after having spent the previous two days watching documentaries and docu-dramas about the courage, sacrifice and sheer grit of ordinary citizens who became extraordinary servants of this country, I can’t help but feel small as an individual but great as a part of the US – which is essentially us.

I wasn’t in the military but admire those in it and pivotal characters in Malevolent Tide include present and retired members of our military. In my life, one grandpa served during WWII and the other worked for the railroad during WWII. The US needed him to transport troops and supplies more than they needed him to shoulder a weapon. I think about them this time of year and wonder what they must have thought about and felt before they knew we would win. It’s hard to imagine as I sit on this side of history.

I’ve heard it said many times that we owe our freedom to those in the military. I agree but I think that we owe more than that – I think we owe our very lives. Our enemies don’t care so much about ridding the world of democracy as much as they just want to kill us and bring us to their level. We are a rich country, although not all are rich. Some in the world covet what we have and too often what they see is our arrogance and materialism – just turn on the TV. It is not hard to think little of Americans if you base your opinion according to what fills our airwaves.

God reached out to Nineveh by sending Jonah and for a time they turned from the ungodly way they treated their neighboring countries. But after a time, they returned to exploiting and abusing other countries and God unleashed his judgement on them and they are no more. God judges the eternal human soul after its time on earth but God judges nations during their time on earth. He didn’t destroy Nineveh because they weren’t following him in a theocratic sensse; He destroyed them because of how they abused the neighboring countries around them.

As a nation, US should be mindful of seeking justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with (or without) our God. I inserted (or without) because there will come a time when Christians will be a minority – yes, we already act like it. Without justice, mercy, and humility, we will follow the path paved by Nineveh.

Paul said it best in Phil. 1:21. “For me, to live is Christ, to die is gain.” That commitment is a weapon more powerful than all the bombs on earth. It took Christianity from being a small odd sect of Hebrews to over 2 billion believers. Paul clearly saw that it was not about Paul but about Christ. Paul was a part of something greater than himself. As part of this country we are part of something bigger than ourselves. Without us there is no military or Federal government and without no military or Federal government there is no us. As sad as politics can be, words kill fewer people and are less damaging than bullets if you have the opportunity to be born (which makes me think of justice and mercy and humility).

All of us are imperfect to say the least, but as a member of US, remember that the taxes we pay, the prayers we pray, the wreaths we lay, and the thank you’s we say mean a great deal to those of us who courageously step into harm’s way. And such things need not only happen or be recognized on Memorial Day.

 

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