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Here in the South, there are memorials in most towns to the bloodiest war fought on American soil – the Civil War. Over 600,000 died in that conflict. What is often not known is that both the North and the South allowed “substitute soldiers.” A man drafted for military service could literally buy another man to go to war in his place. This lasted until 1863 in the South, when there were no more available men, and began about that same time in the North where immigrants were often paid to fight in someone’s place. The term “rich man’s war, poor man’s fight” became popular in the South.

Imagine paying someone to fight in your place – most to die in your place. How humbling that must have been. Yet, today, all of us gather for worship on this memorial day weekend… humbled… knowing that not only did soldiers die for our freedom as a nation, but that we have a substitute that died in our place, for our eternal freedom.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. – 1 John 4:10

He died for me. May we never forget and may we always live for Him!

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