Memorial Day is a holiday specifically focused on remembering those who died while in service to our country. This is a unique recognition, it’s not just a celebration of the founding of our country and its unique freedoms, it’s more than a celebration of the many brave and valiant men and women who have served in the armed forces, it’s the giving of honor to those who gave their lives in the service of our great country.
All around our country you can visit memorials to remember the sacrifice of those who have fallen in service to our country:
You can visit the World War 2 memorial on the national mall in Washington, DC
You can visit the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii to remember the 1,102 sailors who were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor.
At Arlington National Cemetery you can visit the graves of those who have fallen in battle.
At the Korean War Veterans National Memorial you can honor the more than 36,000 men and women who died in the three year war.
At the Vietnam Veterans Memorial you can visit and read the names of over 58,000 fallen soldiers that are engraved in the wall of black marble.
The life and death of these men and women reverberates through the history of our country. Their lives and their deaths tell the story of their commitment and faithfulness to their duty as soldiers and as protectors of freedom.
While we honor their sacrifice for our country, the greatest honor in our hearts and minds is reserved Jesus Christ. In God’s kingdom there isn’t a wall of names who have sacrificed. There are no memorials set up in heaven to the life or death of men or women… In the kingdom of God there is one name that is revered, there is one name that is honored… and that’s the name of Jesus Christ. He is who we have come to worship this morning, and He is who we will leave here living for.
If you envision the Vietnam Memorial Wall, all of the 58,000+ names on that wall… In God’s kingdom Jesus places Himself in the place of each one of those names. Not only does He sacrifice for us, He sacrifices instead of us. Literally taking our death for us. In God’s kingdom there is no more death, there is no more pain, there is no more loss. There is only life eternal because of the sacrifice that Jesus made.
We should pause and remember those who have fallen in service to our country. We should be thankful for those who gave their lives so that we can live free in this great land. And we should pay the greatest honor to Christ by living for Him since He died for us.
A.B. Simpson, the founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance wrote the following hymn:
He Died For Me
He died for me that I might live, I live for him who died, My life my love to Him I give, Jesus the crucified.
He died for me that I might die to Satan, self, and sin O death so deep! O life so high! Help me to enter in.
He lives for me that I may live as spotless then as he. Savior to me thy nature give and live thy life in me.
He lives for me that I may give his love to hearts that pine. Let me like Him for others live, and trace his steps divine.
O Jesus my Lord and Savior, help me to fully follow thee. In life and death and loving service, as thou has lived and died for me.