Today is memorial day. Regardless of the debated views surrounding its origins, it is set aside by the Federal Government as a day to remember the many individuals who have died defending the United States of America. Most folks will celebrate the day in remembrance of the fallen around swimming pools and BBQ grills, with very little ascent to the fallen dead. But for those that do set apart time to commemorate the valiant effort and brave actions of men and women throughout military history, it is a day of somber remembrance and grateful reflection of the freedom they now currently enjoy.
Freedom is a very biased word. It may even be a biased value as well. Hidden in the meaning of Memorial Day and the freedom derived from the military campaigns that cost the lives of those memorial dead provides a veil for something entirely different.
Sentimental thoughts see slaves freed burying the Civil War's Union dead to the shrapnel filled carcasses sent home in pine boxes from Afghanistan's war torn countrysides. Americans abroad focus on their ability to live leisurely lifestyles and cast bi-partisan votes on election day as freedom. In quoting John Piper from a message titled Don't Waste Your Life, "that's a tragedy." Whenever freedom is exchanged or evaluated by the cost of an individuals life, freedom becomes contingent upon the loss of freedom for those who lose their lives. Now, that sacrifice becomes noble and worthy of remembrance at cook-outs around the country.
I am perplexed. When it is suggested that one is enslaved to their hatred, anger, lusts, covetousness, adulteries, lies, or idolatry, it is met with resistance and ridicule. Even if you include that freedom is had by the death of Jesus Christ and new life through his resurrection if one turns from those sins, you are sure to be met with persecution. But, if you suggest that someone has given their life so that you can own a 4 bedroom ranch, a sports car, and voting rights, praise and rejoicing breaks out.
The question remains, what really is the cost? Arthur Sido at "The Voice Of One Crying Out In Suburbia," has summarized some statistical information that draws an interesting parallel between the combined numbers of dead service men and women in major U.S. military campaigns. The data of the latter dwarfs in comparison to the staggering number of aborted Americans in 2008 alone. You can see his post, "Some other Americans to remember today."
So what is it that we commemorate? Death, or life as a result of the death of another? In turn, what is the measure and value of the life that is lived as a result of the cost of the sacrifice? Today, let us remember those who have lost life, be it for a cause or vain glory. But remember, our Patriot dead are no more significant than enemy dead. The loss of human life is loss of life period. That can be seen in the devastating statistics seen in abortions every day.
Jesus Christ came that we may have life eternal. Not so that you can go to church on Sunday, have a 4 bedroom ranch, or go to war in the name of freedom. His life serves as a ransom for many, and as he refers to those who follow him as sheep, and he the shepherd, those who are his sheep will hear his voice (John 10:9-11). Those who truly love Jesus Christ, keep his commandments (John 14:15, 15:10). Today, remember the death of Jesus Christ, pray for those who will die (in war or the womb) without knowing him, and count the cost of your own life today (Luke 9:62).
I leave you with this video, which gets to the heart of the matter. Happy Memorial day.