MEMORIAL DAYMay 27, 2018

Today is part of the Memorial Day Weekend.  I’d like to share with you a reading entitled:

I Am America

I was born on July 4, 1776, and the Declaration of Independence is my birth certificate.

The bloodlines of the world run in my veins, because I offered freedom to the oppressed.

I am many things and many people.I am America!

I am over 300 million living souls, and the ghosts of millions who have lived and died for me.

I remember the Alamo, the Maine, and Pearl Harbor.

When freedom called, I answered, and stayed until it was over  overthere.

I left my heroic dead in Flander's fields, on the rock Corregidor, on the bleak slopes of Korea, in the steaming jungles of Vietnam, and in the sands of Desert Storm. I am America!And we are Americans!

The graves of our brave soldiers are scattered all over the world.

Each lonely marker stands as a reminder that all we cherish has been preserved at such a great cost.They died for liberty.They died for us.

In the midst of battles, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death.They are at rest.

It was at the close of the Civil War, that a group of women in Columbus, Mississippi,honored both Confederate and Union dead by placing flowers on their graves.  When the news of this act of compassion reached the North,it helped to heal the recent wounds the young nation had suffered in the Civil War.

In 1868 

         General John A. Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic,issued his historic ordeto all chapters of the Grand Army of the Republicto set aside May 30 as Decoration Day(now called Memorial Day)to decorate the graves of the heroic dead.  And this Memorial Day weekend, we remember them.

Every liberty we enjoy todayhas been bought at the great costof the best our nation had to give.  In one sense,Americans can almost be saidto be divided into two groups: those who live the full, rich life, and those who die to make the full life possible for others.John 15:13 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. Memorial Day clearly reminds us of this fact.  None of us doubts for a moment 

that we are citizens of the greatest countryin the world because so many gave their lives to make it possible.

  Hundreds of thousands of America's young men and womenhave died during America's wars.  We all know the fact that everything in life costs but freedom costs most of all. To put it another way,freedom isn’t free.     

The Gospel of John chapter 1:45-52 remind us that the cost of our Salvation was high. The chief priests and Phariseeswere discussingwhat to do about Jesus Of Nazareth.He was quickly becoming a threat to them.

They were at their wits endbecause Jesus just kept on working miracleswhich none of them could deny.                  

John 11:47“Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a counciland said “What shall we do?  For this Man works many signs.”  This strategy meeting was held just after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.

They were afraid that it was only a matter of timebefore the Jewish people were going to declare Jesus as Messiah and King.  This, they knew, would appear as a political revolution to Romeand cause the destruction of Israel. John 11:48“If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, andthe Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.”  Caiaphas, the high priest, rebuked them for their ignorance in practical affairs.

Let’s listen in to their deliberations:John 11:4950 “And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to themYou know nothing at all” he declared callously "that it is expedient for us , that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not."  Caiaphas was speaking more truththan he ever could imagine.Because Jesus death on the cross  is history's supreme example of sacrifice for others.  Jesus died in order that we all could live eternally.John 3:16 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 

Jesus demonstrated how far God would goto redeem lost people.Jesus demonstrateGod’s mercy and amazing Grace in action.Just think of Jesus’ marvelous power over the universe He had created.Think of His compassionate love for people and His involvement in their every problemand careas He walked this earth.Think of the abundant life He had to offer a broken and hungry world.  Yet Jesus sacrificed His life 

on the cross.  

Have you ever noticed thatthose who have the most to live forare often the quickest to give up their lives.  The most:alerttalented, and promisingare usually the first to volunteer for front line duty.Jesus made this clear when He said:John 15:13  Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” 

As we celebrate Memorial Dayit is important for us to understandthe purpose of a memorial.                               

Look in the dictionary“anything meant to help people remember some person or event.” Yes, Memorial Day is all about remembering.  Let me give you a list of Truths we must never forget:

1.  Freedom is never freeit is always very costly.

2.  Freedom is a giftpurchased by the sacrifice of others.

3.  Spiritual freedom (a.k.a. the forgiveness of sins) was very costly.

When Jesus died on the crossto pay for the sins of the worldand rose again on the 3rd day.

As God’s forgiven children let us daily remember Jesus and His sacrificefor each of us.

Let us also never forgetthe sacrifices that arestill being madeby thosein the armed forces of theseUnited States of America.