29 May 2007

Memorial Day, a day late

by Dan Phillips

I've been out of town, and my betters here at Teampyro are busy, so I offer you this brief thought.

As Memorial Day approached, I found myself focused on this simple truth: every bit of freedom we Americans enjoy was bought and paid for by the blood of men and women, and those willing to shed their blood.

That I can write these posts without being jailed for seditious ideas, or tortured and killed for reproaching the "Prophet" Mohamed; that my family can worship publicly in the church of our choice; that I can call some portion of my earnings mine; that I can vote in open elections — these and countless other freedoms are mine because of blood. You who preach the Word here, week in and week out, do so because of blood shed or risked.

Philosophers philosophized, theoreticians theorized, speakers spoke, writers wrote, and preachers preached. But until some people put their "Lives, [their] Fortunes and [their] sacred Honor" on the line to secure the actualization of those ideals, no actual liberty was secured. And it has only been preserved to the degree that we still have it because men and women have pledged their own lives to its defense.

So our family honored those sacrifices at a service in a cemetery yesterday.

But as a Christian, all this talk of freedom purchased by blood makes me think of Jesus and His sacrifice. Perhaps the similarities and contrasts could be developed further in a less hurried post, but I immediately think of these, and offer them to you:
  • They died to secure and/or preserve temporal freedom; He, eternal freedom
  • Some of them died with no immediate effect; by His death He actually "saved sinners"
  • Some of their deaths may have been tragic mistakes due to flawed policy or tactics; He died according to the eternal, infinitely wise, just, and perfect plan of the Triune God
  • When they died, they had no guarantee of success; He died "for the joy set before Him"
  • Their lives were taken from them; He had the authority to lay down His life, and the authority to take it up again
  • Their graves are marked by crosses, headstones, flags; He has no grave, having risen bodily and ascended to the right had of the Father
  • Some use the liberty their deaths secured to sin more flagrantly; His death breaks sin's bonds forever
If you haven't, thank the vets you know for taking the risk that Memorial Day could have been about them, and tell them you thank God that it wasn't. (Thank you, vets!)

But also thank your Savior and the Captain of your salvation, for His perfect atonement for sin, for having given all He had to secure your freedom not just now, but forever.

Dan Phillips's signature


Gary Bisaga (aka fool4jesus) said...

Excellent thoughts, Dan. I noticed that you all changed the links to each person. Is it just me, or does Pecadillo's link make it look like he's into hëavy metäl?

Stefan Ewing said...

Better than Spurgeon? Can it be!? God just opened up a wormhole in the universe.

SP said...

Great post.

Something I have a hard time reconciling, and would love to see one of you guys do a post on, is about those brave, courageous, selfless men and women who chose to give of themselves for the benefit of our country, but who happen to die without Christ and must face hell.

I'm never sure how far to go when honoring our fallen heroes, before succumbing to a hint of despair when I think about the eternity that many of them face.

I'm not even sure what I'm trying to ask...maybe, from the perspective of a Christian...was their sacrifice ultimately worth it, in light of eternity?

(Really having trouble with my words)


HOOKM14 said...

Thanks bro for he thoughts. Very moving.....

donsands said...

"If you haven't, thank the vets you know for taking the risk that Memorial Day could have been about them, and tell them you thank God that it wasn't."


A friend, and brother in Christ, has just this past week returned from Iraq, where he was for 7 months.

It was very dangerous, and he lost some friends, who were killed.
But he truly honored our Lord in his service to his country, and our freedom.
His name is Sam Grammer, and he's a corporal in the marines.

Very well spoken post. I love how you honored the Lord as our impeccable Savior and risen Lord, and honored our vets as well.

Anonymous said...

I had an interesting experience this Memorial Day weekend - attended a send-off service for a pastor of a small local Baptist church who is an Army Reserve chaplain and is being deployed this week to Kuwait for a year. He actually volunteered for this deployment, and had some great things to say from 2 Timothy 2:3-4. I and several other leaders in our church will have the privilege of filling the pulpit and teaching roles for him while he is on mission.

northWord said...

Amen, and Amen.

Also, much appreciation and Thanks to the families behind these men and women.

An especially well crafted, appropriate post....Thank you, Dan, for putting it all down so well.

Colin Maxwell said...

Very enjoyable post. Truly, our Lord Jesus is "altogether lovely" (Song 5:16)

Mark said...


Thanks for your thoughts.

One thing I have a hard time reconciling in the church is the worship services set apart for days like Memorial Day. I can't stand when a worship service is dedicated to the military with God being secondary if even primary.

To hear some people talk you'd think that all soldiers get a free pass to heaven for fighting for the USA.

Along the same lines I get tired of hearing prayers for our favorite political leaders rather than all of our leaders in general.