Monday, May 25, 2009

Remembering Memorial Day

This may be controversial to some, but I believe the facts of history will show that on the whole, the United States military has been a force for good in the world. Obviously, as a military power, we have blundered at times, both individually and corporately. But on the whole, the men and women of our armed services have fought and are fighting for causes that promote freedom, defend the rights of human beings, and reject tyranny. War is still hell and a tragic result of the fall of mankind. We should praise God for his promise to one day end all human conflict. But in a world where people are evil by nature and leaders are not always reasonable and countries do not always have good intentions, war is sometimes the way to peace–at least the best peace we can hope for between peoples and nations this side of heaven.

But I will say that love of country can be a good thing. As Christians we have dual citizenship. Our first allegiance must always be to Christ who is in Heaven, which is our eternal home. But we are also citizens of an earthly country. We will stand before God as people with distinct languages, cultural affections, and homelands. It is not wrong to love our distinct language, culture, or nationality. Whenever I’m at a ball game I always show respect during the singing of the National Anthem. I think this is good. Love for God does not mean we love nothing else on earth, but rather that we learn to love the things on earth in the right way and with the right priorities. Love of country is a good thing, and it is right to honor those who defend the principles that make our country good.

Today, Memorial Day is mainly thought of as the unofficial start of summer which will include a long weekend with a car race, playoff basketball, and hot dogs and burgers on the grill. But, Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was instituted to honor Union soldiers who died in the Civil War. After World War I, the purpose of the day was expanded to include all men and women who died in U.S. military service. We should all be very thankful to those who have given their lives in the service and especially thankful to those that currently serve. Happy Memorial Day.

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