The Rev. Janice Ford, Rector
The Church of the Reconciliation Episcopal
I realize that by the time you read this column, Memorial Day may have passed. However, I feel compelled to share my thoughts with you regarding the day America honors its fallen service men and women. Those thoughts are closely tied to my understanding of God’s love for us.
Attempting to understand the sacrifice that Jesus made by allowing himself to be brutally crucified, and thereby making salvation possible for us, is very difficult for most of us. Theologians refer to this as “atonement theory;” that is, the means by which we try to make sense of why Jesus needed to die. There are several atonement theories, and each one has merit. However, I find myself drawn to that which describes Jesus’ death as an act of love—the love both he and his Father have for all of us. I see this same kind of love manifested in the actions of those men and women who willingly went into battle to fight for the freedom we all treasure.
In the Gospel according to John (15:13), Jesus says, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Jesus chose to sacrifice himself for our salvation because he loved us. Clearly, those whose memories we honor made a similar choice. Though Jesus’ death and resurrection gave us our eternal salvation, our fallen service men and women have followed his example of sacrifice, and gave us our freedom.
No one wants war. No one wants to die. Yet, there are those Americans who believe so strongly in duty, honor, and the preservation of freedom, that they will put themselves in harm’s way in order to protect and sustain our right to live as we choose. These people are our heroes. They are the ones to whom we look for a stellar example of what it means to love one another.
My prayer is that wars will end, and that we will no longer need anyone to sacrifice him or herself for our freedom. That is my prayer, but I fear it is one prayed against such a powerful force of evil in this world, that true peace will only come when Jesus returns to gather the whole world—both the living and the dead—to himself.
Until then, may God bless our heroes and their families. May God bless our enemies for whom Jesus said we should pray, and may God continue to bless America.
- Monday, 28 May 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Religion