John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (NIV)
Every Remembrance Day (or Veterans Day), I am deeply touched as members of our little community take turns placing wreaths of remembrance at the base of our town's cenotaph. Each wreath represents a different era: a war which has been fought and has taken the lives of many who responded to the call to fight for freedom.
As I stand and watch, I cannot help but consider the parallels between these soldiers and Christ as a soldier:
Philippians 2:6-8 – Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross! (NIV)
Just as Remembrance Day reminds me of all those who have chosen to leave their families and homes to go to foreign shores and fight against evil, that we might remain free and protected, so Jesus left His Father and His home in glory to come to earth to fight the war against sin. In so doing, He waged battle against the forces of evil on this earth. His battle was spiritual, against the disease of sin that infected mankind through Adam and Eve when they first chose to disobey God. He laid down His life so that whoever believes in Him and repents of their sin will not perish (bear the eternal punishment of their sin, which is separation from God) but have eternal life in heaven, where there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Sin will be no more.
In today's world, sin still abides and will abide until the day when Christ returns to make all things new. Until that time, however, wars will always rage, and men and women will be called to make the choice, much like Christ did, to leave their homes and countries to fight against evil, to be willing and ready to lay down their lives for their friends and countrymen.
So, this Remembrance Day, I hope that we may all choose to remember to do two things:
- To honour in our hearts and to be truly thankful for those who have chosen to be willing to lay down their lives for us so that we might continue to have freedom: physically, mentally, and spiritually, and
- To pray for ourselves as Christians that we might be faithful soldiers in the spiritual battle against sin in this world, to be ambassadors of reconciliation for Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17-20a – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. (NIV)
Prayer: Father God, it is written that there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. We pray today for those who have chosen to leave their families and homes to fight the physical war against evil. Bless each one with a sense of Your presence and love that they might be encouraged and drawn closer and closer to You. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.