TWO MEMORIAL DAYS…
Memorial Day is a day that we set aside to remember the price that was paid for our Freedom here in the United States. It has been set aside for those men and women who have given their lives for this country. It’s a day for us to remember the price that these men and women paid for our freedom. They died for our country so that we can have the freedom to live, freedom to make our own decisions, and freedom to worship.
On the 40th anniversary of D-Day (June 6, 1944) President Ronald Reagan, in a speech delivered at Normandy France, best summarized the sacrifices made for freedom… here is an excerpt from the occasion:
“We're here to mark that day in history when the Allied armies joined in battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. For four long years, much of Europe had been under a terrible shadow. Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved and the world prayed for its rescue. Here, in Normandy, the rescue began. Here, the Allies stood and fought against tyranny, in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history.
We stand on a lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France. The air is soft, but forty years ago at this moment, the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with the crack of rifle fire and the roar of cannon. At dawn, on the morning of the 6th of June, 1944, two hundred and twenty-five Rangers jumped off the British landing craft and ran to the bottom of these cliffs.
Their mission was one of the most difficult and daring of the invasion: to climb these sheer and desolate cliffs and take out the enemy guns. The Allies had been told that some of the mightiest of these guns were here, and they would be trained on the beaches to stop the Allied advance.
The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers at the edge of the cliffs, shooting down at them with machine guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After two days of fighting, only ninety could still bear arms.
And behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there. These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. And these are the heroes who helped end a war. Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender's poem. You are men who in your "lives fought for life and left the vivid air signed with your honor."
What a fitting tribute to those throughout our history who have spilled their blood for the freedoms that we and many nations across the globe share… But there is also another Memorial Day. It has eternal significance. It is the day Jesus shed His blood on the Cross for our liberation from sin and our eternal freedom. So, tomorrow as you celebrate Memorial Day, remember more than just the heroic sacrifices of our earthly soldiers, let’s also remember what Jesus did for us. Let tomorrow be a reminder to us of the cost of freedom for our Christian life. If you are free from sin today, it’s because a Man named Jesus became one of us and gave His life so we could have ours spared. If you are saved today, you owe it to your Lord to give Him glory and praise for what He did for you. Just as we must never take for granted the national freedoms we have; we must also never take for granted the great salvation that we have today that was purchased by the precious, sacrificial blood of Jesus!
Remember, God is always trying to take us someplace new. I love being your Pastor!
For God’s Glory Alone,