Summary: There is no wonder that God considered us worthy dying for, when one realises how intimately He knows us! His love for you is so deep that he has numbered every hair on your head – and maybe renumbers them when some fall out!
Today is a day that needs little help in explanation or purpose-description. The message of the sacrifice of Canadian troops and allied forces for the freedom of the world from dominating forces in World War I and the threat of Fascist and Nazi rule in World War II is not hard to understand. What is difficult to grasp is the price paid. We cannot appreciate the living conditions of the trenches. (S1 and BS2) Our minds can only grapple with the horrors that live in the minds of soldiers to this day. The 60,000 plus Canadian soldiers of World War I and the 45,300 Canadian soldiers of World War II are staggering statistics. It is equivalent to wiping out Owen Sound’s population five times over. The casualties of World War II alone numbered at 62,537,400, with 75% more civilians killed than soldiers. Civilians alone numbered over 46.9 million people. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties)
(S3) “Lest we forget” – the slogan that accompanies the poppy is most appropriate. (BS4)
Can anyone imagine how you would feel today if our nation decided we did not want to remember any more? That we would no longer be interested in commemorating fallen solders? It would leave many of us aghast with the suggestion if it were presented to us. Not remember? The whole of sacrifice, pain and suffering would be treated as rubbish and a grave disrespect would be served.
This time is also a time to remember presently, what I would label a type of World War III of sorts. It is the war of the world against terrorism and exploitation. An October 6 report states that 43 Canadian soldiers have fallen in Afghanistan since 2002. (http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2006/10/06/harper-leadership.html) (S5) This reality struck close to home with the sacrifice of Corporal Robert Thomas James Mitchell of Owen Sound, out of Pedawawa, ON., who was the 39th fallen Canadian soldier. (BS6)
I never enter this time of remembrance without my mind being flooded with another “fallen soldier”. I cannot forget the heart-wrenching pain of His mother as she watched helplessly as her only Son was beaten to within a hairs-breath of being beaten to death. He waged a war of unsurpassed sacrifice. The battle was not rightfully His to fight but He did so because the exploited and weak had no power to defend them selves. When we put all the suffering and deaths of every war together, these cannot touch the weight, suffering and sacrifice of His war. His battle deserves its own recognition “lest we forget” and the world forgets. Too many have never even heard about it – or Him. Just as it is unconscionable to consider forgetting the sacrifice and death of soldier and civilian lives, it is even more so, a grave travesty and dishonor to His service and sacrifice, to forget. I am speaking of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
It will likely not be a surprise to you that Jesus Christ is widely known as
1. A Respected Man
Matthew 16:13-14, “13When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" 14"Well," they replied, "some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets."
The view of who Jesus is continues to be a fast-changing reality with multiple possibilities offered. Because the world is increasingly in the dark about Jesus, Post-modern culture has developed a value system that works counter to the traditional place and person of God through Christ. Pleasing people rather than God is a value. Society is tolerant of things that God explicitly says we should not be tolerant of. Truth and Scripture is subjective, always changing by the culture and climate. Pluralism is widely endorsed, meaning all religions lead to the same place. Today’s society rejects authority, favoring group consensus. To quote one source, faith is “based on feelings, imagination, mysticism and group consensus.” The list goes on. Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is being squeezed out of our frame of reference and conviction. (http://www.crossroad.to/charts/postmodernity.htm)
Just as we work diligently to preserve the respectful need for Remembrance, so must we exercise a sacred commitment to remember the person and work of Jesus Christ who is the only atoning sacrifice that can cleanse us of our misbehaviour and make us right with God again.
Jesus Christ is a respected man, but we must understand and declare that he is so much more than that. He speaks of himself as
2. An Intimate Friend
Soldiers know the risks of war. They enter it with the clear knowledge that they may not come home alive. Why the risks? If you asked them, they offer a variety of reasons for doing so. One of the underlying purposes is often connected to their families and children, fight for their freedom and safety. Sometimes soldiers think of children who do not have the joys of their own children and so they want to try and make a difference for them. People fight for love of Country. Some soldiers are convicted with the desire for basic human rights for all peoples of the world and so their contribution leads them to this place called the battlefield that they might fight injustice and wrong against humanity, that all nations may be free! At some point, the reasons become personal or so close to home that they respond to the call of duty.