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Honor to the Fallen

With the 4th of July just around the corner I am filled with many different thoughts. I think of families having picnics, towns and cities of every size having parades with politicians speaking and fireworks. It is a time of laughter and fun.

Then my mind goes to those who served so we can have such freedom. I am thankful for when we have days to honor them and though Memorial Day was in May I still think we need to take time to thank those who gave their last full measure of courage for us all.

As you read this can you think of someone in your family or of your friends or neighbors who has served our country in the military? Of those people how many either gave their lives or came back injured in some way (physically or mentally or both)?

In some cases lives were cut short before they could fully begin. Many did not get a chance to marry, make a career, buy a home and have a family. All the things we take for granted that many women and men gave their lives to preserve.

I also think of those who have served who have come back with the scars of war on their bodies and on their minds and spirit, struggling in a world that has moved on past them in way too many cases.

Then I think of a lone Judean carpenter. Who gave Himself freely, knowing He would be unfairly persecuted, slandered, abused, demeaned, then executed for a crime He did not commit. Yet, He did this out of love for those He sought to set free. He rose from the grave three days later to give us the hope of that freedom.

I am also reminded of the fallen honored soldiers of faith who gave their lives to let others know they can be free. These are those who have endured slander, belittling, patronizing and second guessing from those whom they gave their lives to serve and those who were supposed to be fellow comrades in the battle of faith. Yet, they stood firm in their faith and did not cave to those who would call for abandoning trusting in God’s Word and seeing the gospel as an anything but a call for freedom from sin and a trusting in God’s grace, mercy and love.

This July 4th please enjoy your time from work and being with family and friends. Go to parades, have picnics, watch fireworks, go to ball games. Maybe this year we can also take a moment or two and think of those who gave for our freedom, freedom as Americans and of the freedom of the heart and soul that Jesus offers. While we are at it maybe also thank God for the brave men and women who have been used by God to bring the Good News of God’s gift of freedom through Jesus as they laid the foundation for the churches we now can freely worship in today.

John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Respectfully submitted by Chaplain Jim