Summer is here! At least unofficially. Officially, summer begins on Wednesday June 21 at 10:57 AM EDT. But we begin our observance of summer with Memorial Day. The kids are out of school, at least in our part of the country. The days are longer, and hotter. There’s a sense of freedom that comes with summer.
Yet as we just observed on the final Monday of May in the U.S., we know that freedom comes at a price. Sometimes a terrible price. Memorial Day is one of those rare holidays where it just doesn’t seem fitting to put the word “happy” in front of it. I feel the same way about Good Friday.
Actually, to me at least, Good Friday and Memorial Day have a lot in common. Both are days we set aside to remember a terrible sacrifice. One to secure our freedom here on earth and the other to secure our freedom for eternity.
Shortly before Jesus made His sacrifice on the cross, He spoke with His disciples and gave them a command, “Love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Then Jesus went on to call the disciples, and by extension us, His friends. Jesus knew, even as He spoke those words, that He was about to lay down His own life for us.
Many friends and fellow warriors of those who gave their lives to secure our nation’s freedom have described those sacrifices as acts of love.
Earlier in that 15th chapter of John Jesus hinted at the result of such sacrifice when He said, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”
So love inspires sacrifice and that sacrifice will eventually lead to joy. As long as we remember.