One of the great privileges of my life is that I was born and raised in the United States of America. My father served in the Navy during the Korean War and I was raised by my family to honor those who faithfully served our country in the military. It has been my privilege for over 30 years to pastor men and women who have faithfully served our country through 3 wars.
Since the founding of our nation, over 1,317,000 men and women have given their lives for the United States of America. We lost most of those men and women in five wars (Civil War, WW I, WW II, Korean, and Vietnam - 1,241,640). Much blood has been shed in order for us to have the freedoms that we have as citizens of the United States of America.
This Memorial Day, 2009, I have been wondering how can I best show my appreciation for those who have faithfully given their lives so that I my live. I am reminded of a passage in Ezekiel where the people of Israel are in exile. They have lost their freedom, their homes and their families have been destroyed by the Babylonians and they are now in exile wondering how they lost it all.
The prophet Ezekiel tells them that they are guilty of the sins of Sodom. This would have been a shock to the Jews listening to Ezekiel. But what was more troubling was that Ezekiel told them they were worse than the citizens of Sodom.
What were the chosen people of Israel guilty of that had led to their downfall and destruction? What were the sins of Sodom?
Ezekiel boldly proclaims that the people in both Israel and Sodom were guilty of three sins: arrogance, gluttony and careless ease (selfishness) (Ezekiel 16:49). The people of Israel and Sodom had become arrogant, fat, and lazy. When a nation reaches that point they are doomed to fall.
So, how do I best honor the men and women who have died for me and the people of the United States of America? I best honor those who have selflessly given their lives serving our country when I walk humbly with my God and with discipline live each day serving others.
Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
I pray you have a great Memorial Day with your family and friends!