THE RESPONSIBILITY OF FREEDOM
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen. Dear Lord, Jesus Christ as a grateful Nation, many will be gathering today to show honor to our fallen and living heroes—the American soldiers. We pray, that You Father of all Compassion, Mercy and Grace, would sustain them to a peace and a hope that their service to our country is not in vain. That we, as a nation; are here to support them with our prayers, our devotion and love and to show them that our hearts will be forever grateful for their service and sacrifice. We ask You dear Jesus to continue to pour out Your favor upon this nation that all people might come to worship You as the ONLY TRUE Savior of the world and open the Kingdom of heaven to all believers. In Your name we pray, sweet Jesus. Amen.
On this day we call Memorial Day it is fitting that we remember. It is very important that we remember that our freedom isn’t free. Freedom is purchased. Its currency is not monetary. No the purchase of freedom is made with sacrifice. The sacrifice is made by ordinary men and women who are put in extraordinary situations and called upon to do extraordinary things.
That sacrifice was made by men and women from across this nation. They came from the busy streets of our biggest cities, sleepy towns; villages and farm fields not unlike our town of Armour. They weren’t superheroes. They were young men and women who answered the call to service that comes as a responsibility of freedom. As we look around today, many of those who made the sacrifice of years in their lives are all around us. Still others are bearing in their bodies, mind and souls the scars of that sacrifice. But more to the point of this day, there were those who made the ultimate sacrifice. They are the ones who are buried in places like Flanders Field, Arlington National Cemetery, right here at Pleasant Ridge and other places around the world. They faced up to the responsibilities of freedom by giving up all they had.
On this Memorial Day it is critical and important for us who stand here remembering the sacrifice of others that the same responsibility of freedom falls to us. Each one of us owes a debt to the Lord and to those who died to embrace every responsibility that freedom brings with it. There may come a time when we will be called to put ourselves on the line. God forbid that the circumstances of our world force us or our sons and daughters to take up arms to bear the responsibility of freedom! While this is a pious wish, we know that this responsibility bearing does indeed fall to all of us. We know this because at this moment there are Marines and Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen doing that very thing to keep FREEDOM alive and well.
But how is it that you and I are called to bear the responsibility of freedom. The first part of this is what we are doing today. We are remembering those who have given all and keeping their memories alive. When we hold before us the images of sacrifice and take into our minds and hearts the costs of that freedom, we are bearing the responsibility for it. In this, we don’t take our freedoms lightly. When we look at the flags that adorn the graves of the fallen heroes and remember that expense, we bear the responsibility.
But there is one other way that we are able to bear the responsibility of freedom. It is to practice the freedoms that we have been given by the Lord God Almighty and have been defended by those who have made the ultimate sacrifice! This can be as simple as being gathered by the Holy Spirit to receive God’s gifts in His house weekly. It is taking part in the process of governing by making sure that we are informed before and being active at the polls. Even if we do not agree politically, it is critical that each and every citizen bears the responsibility of freedom by going to the polls and casting a ballot that is in keeping with our God-given conscience. To do less is to shirk our responsibility of freedom. This responsibility may even lead some of us to step forward to serve as well.
This is not an exhaustive list. But it does give us the idea that there are responsibilities that WE bear when it comes to our freedoms. The Lord has been too gracious to us in giving us these freedoms for us not to be responsible. Those who have defended these freedoms have paid too high a cost for us to bear these responsibilities lightly.
Dear gathered friends, remember that law and order came to each community at the expense of responsible men who fought and sacrificed their lives for justice. But in a far greater way, freedom came to us by the responsible men and women of the armed forces who stood vigil in the trenches and canals to keep freedom’s light burning brightly for us to enjoy. PAUSE.
What is our responsibility as a nation towards those who have borne these responsibilities? What we will be is very much the same. How we, each one of us, bears these responsibilities will affect the generations to come. We have far too much to lose. The responsibility is great. But so is the grace of God that will lead us to be able to fulfill these responsibilities.
As a grateful nation, our responsibility is to honor the memories of those who sacrificed their blood, limbs and even lives and to never forget them. Our responsibilities are to stand up proudly when we see the military holding high the flag that bears the stars and stripes. Our responsibilities are to support these veterans in every human way possible—physical, mental and spiritual and to assist their families and care for their needs. Our responsibilities are to dig deep into our pocket books and come to the rescue of the wounded soldiers so that they may live in the freedom which they fought to provide for us.
As a grateful nation, our privilege and responsibility as citizens of these United States of America is to fold our hands, bow our heads, close our eyes and lift up our prayers heaven ward to the God of all grace who moved the brazen, bold, and brave men and women to defend us at every cost. Our responsibilities are to let these brave men and women to be first in line and for us to move back. Our responsibilities are to thank them and their families for services rendered.
Please, please dear friends, don’t forget your responsibility as a child of the King of kings and Lord of lords, but also as a citizen of this great nation—we call the United States of America. Stand up to defend her. Stand up and sing her praises. Stand up and honor her with your service and your prayers. Stand up and let freedom reign, so that others may come to our shores and live in harmony and peace within these shores.
Remember this and remember it well dear friends, Memorial Day weekend is a time to remember the sacrifices made to preserve our freedom. But don’t make it only one day. Don’t let Memorial Day be a day spent camping, boating, golfing or picnicking. Let every day be a Memorial Day because this freedom allows us to live free to worship, speak and move around. And on a far grander scale, every Sunday the heavenly Father gives us the great honor to learn more about the Freedom His Son, our Savior, has earned for us by dying on the cross to free us from sin.
What a joy the heavenly Father gives us to be His responsible citizens—to live in the freedom of the cross and the empty tomb as proud Americans. What an honor these responsible men and women who wore the uniform of the US military have provided in caring for this nation and leaving it a better place for the generation to come.
As a grateful nation, we pray that God would grant us this privilege to be as responsible as we can so that many more may know of this FREEDOM and keep the torch of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness available to all. God bless now and always.
Please join me in a word of prayer
Heavenly Father, as a grateful nation, today we gather in this place as responsible citizens to remember those who have served our country with honor, bravery, dedication and devotion, especially those who have given their lives. We praise You for all the blessings that we enjoy as a result of their sacrifice, including peace, liberty, security, and the freedom we have to move about without any confinement and above all to enter Your house of worship to receive Your abundant blessings. We implore you to keep our young, proud, bold and brave men and women who are serving today safe and bring them home to their loved ones soon. We also, ask You to use us as Your responsible and valued instruments of peace and love as we serve You and others. In Jesus' most holy name we pray. Amen.