In the past several decades, respect for the Lord, our Christ, Messiah, and Savior, has greatly diminished. Where once it was common to pray, it has now become taboo. This past homecoming season, a picture was circulated online: a large group of high schoolers had went out to eat before the dance. The picture was of them joining hands in prayer. It was posted in celebration that there are still those among us, and young ones!, who remember to offer grace for the food they were about to eat. And the comments? Some, like the poster, found the image heartwarming. But many others could do nothing but deride these individuals for their choice to pray.
As Christians in America, we are fortunate. We have the guaranteed right to worship freely, however we choose. We may be ridiculed, we may be fewer than we once were - or perhaps the opposition has just grown louder. Organized prayer may have been removed from schools, sporting events, and other places - but our right to worship cannot and will not be encroached. We are fortunate, for not all individuals have that guaranteed right. Some face persecution, like Daniel in Babylon, for simply opening a window and praying.
Have you stopped to think about why and how we have that right? The right was and is secured for us in the Constitution of the United States, via the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” But it doesn’t stop there. In order for our rights to remain, the United States of America must remain a free nation. That responsibility falls on the shoulders of the United States Armed Forces.
Throughout the last 200+ years, the Armed Forces has evolved from a loosely regulated, rag-tag militia who secured this nation’s freedom, to a well-oiled fighting machine. Individuals who have joined the military and serve this country by protecting it, are willing to sacrifice everything to ensure that you and I are able to continue to enjoy our freedoms and rights.
On Monday, May 28, 2018, we celebrate Memorial Day - one of several holidays throughout the year that honor our armed forces. On Memorial Day, we specifically honor those who have fallen, those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation - their life. Husbands and fathers. Wives and mothers. Sons and daughters. Nieces, nephews, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends. Everyone who has fallen is someone!
Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. (Romans 13:7, ESV)
These men and women who have offered up their lives so that we may continue to live and worship freely, are owed our respect and our honor. This Memorial Day, thank the Lord for those who are willing to make such sacrifices. Also remember their families in prayer, for the pain of losing a loved one is always there.