"Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." - Romans 12:15
Currently, there are little over 1,300,000 U.S. troops serving worldwide.
Around 150,000 of them are stationed in foreign countries.
There are immeasurable millions more troops serving globally in behalf of countless other countries that they call "home."
Today is Memorial Day--Monday, May 30th, 2016--in the United States. It is a day of remembrance, of honor, and of gratitude. It is also a day that many may have mixed feelings about. With so much violence and so much turmoil currently affecting this weary world, it can be hard to feel like much has changed throughout history.
The pain of lost loved ones and the joy of valiant veterans makes for a difficult mix of emotions. Is this a day that we "celebrate," or is this a day that we "mourn?" Instead of instigating some sort of debate about war vs. peace, I want to challenge you today with a question.
How would Jesus respond to Memorial Day?
What might Jesus say to a U.S. veteran? To make it more challenging, let's put the inherent nationalism of our holiday aside for just a moment and acknowledge all service men and women from countries around the world. What might Jesus say to them, too?
Based upon how Jesus treated others according to Scripture, I think he would be the first to shake the service man or woman's hand and thank them for his/her service. I think he would embrace the widow, the fatherless child, the troubled sibling, or the grieving parents and listen to their stories, offering whatever comfort he could.
I think, regardless of whether or not he agrees with the war or with the peace, he would express some sort of genuine gratitude for those who had willingly risked and/or sacrificed their lives for their friends and families. After all, Jesus knows a lot about sacrifice.
Paul writes in Romans. Ch. 12 that we should, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep."
Short, simple, and to the point. How can you offer a heartfelt memorial today to those who have served and are serving us? Perhaps showing a little bit of compassion, a little bit of gratitude, and a little bit of understanding is a great first step.
Without our brothers and sisters in service, many of us would not have anything to call "home." Let us rejoice with those who are rejoicing, whether the return of a loved one or the celebration of a history. And certainly, let us weep with those who are weeping over the loss of a loved one or over the fear of losing someone.
Lastly, let us pray in gratitude for everyone, American or not, who has given and is continuing to give his or her life in the line of duty for the greater good.
-written by Chase Cotten, Media Director @ IDES