"And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same way, after the supper He took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you." (Luke 22:19-20 NIV)
The scene is a familiar one. A family is gathered around the table sharing a meal. However, this gathering feels different. There is a sense of heaviness in the hearts of those at the table. Nonetheless, there is some discussion, a little bit of laughter, and a few tears. The family recognizes the next day their lives will change forever. They had hoped and even prayed that the circumstances could be different. However, the family has to acknowledge that someone they love has made a choice which may not be popular or ideal but necessary. This scene has been repeated over time across this nation as families released their loved ones to go and serve their country overseas. Every year we set aside the last Monday in May to give thanks and remember the sacrifice made by men and women to protect and preserve the freedoms we enjoy in this country. The shed blood of these soldiers reminds us of the high price of freedom. Sadly, those lost in conflict will never sit around that family table again. Their loved ones will have to live the rest of their lives, clinging to their shared memories. How will they carry on without that person?
A New Family Gathering
Unlike human conflicts and battles, Jesus fought a battle on another level. It was a spiritual battle for the soul of humanity. Additionally, unlike human conflicts where the battle is not always victorious, Jesus won the victory for all time and eternity! When we remember that last meal Jesus had with His disciples and His subsequent crucifixion, we recognize the high price He paid for our salvation. Each Memorial Day we remember with sadness the lives lost, but in Jesus Christ we remember with gladness the lives won by His resurrection. On Memorial Day we give thanks for the sacrifice of others and everyday we give thanks to God for freedom and eternal life in Jesus Christ!
Thanks be to God!