"I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance..." Revelation 2:19a
Throughout Detroit and the entire United States, tomorrow will be a day to recognize and celebrate those who have faithfully served in our military. There will be parades and events available throughout the day. In Frankenmuth, there is a hot air balloon festival that will be finishing up and should offer some spectacular views. However, there is one tradition that seems to more accurately strike a chord for this important day. It is not seen amid the floats and festivities, but in the silence and solemn quiet of a graveyard. That is, the decorating of graves with American flags.
Many will walk among the headstones of fallen heroes this weekend and see that small flag waving. It serves as a reminder that each individual whose grave is so decorated served a cause greater than themselves. It seems a small token of appreciation for so great a sacrifice, and yet it was for this same flag that many gave their lives. Their gift to us was freedom, what will our gift to them be in return? It will take only a moment to give thanks to these brave men and women, and yet many will never make even that small sacrifice.
Any freedom we enjoy in our lives comes at a cost. As Christians, this principle stands on the forefront of our most sacred beliefs. The knowledge that Christ died to pay a price for our sins, and rose again to give us eternal life is our core belief. We honor that sacrifice in our churches each week, and with our yearly celebrations at Easter. The verse, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for a friend" (John 15:13) sums up the way Christ loved us. However, it also sums up the love of many of our fallen soldiers.
The challenge we will face today is the day itself. Memorial day is so often linked to barbecues and lake-side gatherings that the true meaning is all but lost. For many it is simply a three day weekend with nice weather. We would do well to honor this day, if even for a minute. The moment we forget the price of our freedom is the moment in which we lose it altogether. This day could be one in which each of us realizes that someone called us their friend as they laid their own life down so that we could make the most of ours. That, indeed, is a humbling reality.
Be blessed on this Memorial Day. Find a moment to celebrate those who have given so much for all that we have. Say a prayer for those who still serve in the midst of great danger. And, if you get the chance, take a moment to thank a Veteran for all they gave. Please tune in again later this week as we continue to share in this great gift called life. Until then, God bless and keep reading.