Today on Memorial Day, North Americans remember those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom. We commemorate the war dead with special ceremonies, parades, speeches, and graveyard visits. Some consider the origins of this day as coming from “Decoration Day.” After the Civil War, graves were decorated with flowers, although this had been the practice of women for centuries. It is good to remember how costly freedom is and to honor those who paid for it with their lives.
Those who gave their lives for freedom did it out of a love for their country. Today’s verse speaks of another sacrifice also motivated by love. There is no greater love than this; than to lay down one’s life for another (John 15:13) and that is what the Lord did for us. And it was also a sacrifice made for the sake of freedom. Christ died to free us from the power of sin. The believer is no longer mastered by sin but is able through God’s Spirit to live differently.
We remember this sacrifice not only on Good Friday and when taking communion, but hopefully everyday. Though sometimes I forget how costly His sacrifice was. It was not only physical pain for Jesus but the incredible pain of separation from the Father. It was the first time in all of eternity that God turned away from His Son. And it was because of my sin. Jesus endured that separation from God so I would not have to. “What wondrous love is this?” Every time I think on it I am overwhelmed with gratitude.
Oh Lord, I want to remember every day.