Memorial Day. In memory of those soldiers who died in the service of their country. There is a boulevard in my small town called Memorial Boulevard. Along this boulevard are several memorial statues dedicated to city soldiers who lost their lives in various American wars. There are also oak trees planted along this boulevard and next to each oak there is a marker with the name of a city soldier lost in World War I. There are about thirty such markers, a huge toll for such a small town at the time. It has been nearly a hundred years since they died on foreign soil fighting for freedom.
So, what freedom did they fight for? One hundred years ago, the average citizen had less freedom than modern young people in regards to his or her family. It seems as if young people had certain obligations towards their families that young people today don’t have. To a large degree, today’s youth can choose the career of their dreams, move to the location they desire and marry whom they choose. They can make a life for themselves, but is that freedom? At the same time, we have lost other kinds of freedom that people one hundred years ago took for granted. Today, we owe much to our government. More and more, our government decides what is appropriate. We have lost the right to pray in our schools, to put the Ten Commandments in public places and even to display a creche at Christmas time on the town green. The people of one hundred years ago would be surprised at what we can no longer do. Are we now “free?”
What makes a person free? We would all agree that a person who is addicted to alcohol, smoking or to internet porn is not free. He/she is a prisoner to that habit. Just as an addict is not free from his addiction, I am not free if I freeze in fear each time I face a large crowd in a public speaking situation. I am a prisoner of that fear. Or perhaps each time I open a package of cookies, I eat the entire thing. I am a prisoner to that craving. Both situations create a negative result for me.
So, on this Memorial Day, as we honor those who died to preserve our freedom, what makes us free? Freedom in regards to our family or our government increases or decreases and yet still we find ourselves not one hundred percent free. The only real freedom we can enjoy is freedom inside of ourselves, in our souls. Only the truth can make us truly free. If we live that truth and free ourselves from those things that hold us prisoner, then we are free indeed with a freedom that no one can take away.
We are truly grateful for those soldiers who nobly fought and died to preserve our natural freedom. It gave us the opportunity to find and live our spiritual freedom. Thank you to those thirty young men who died one hundred years ago. Thank you to the men and women who have died before then and since that time. The most deeply felt thank you must be reserved for Jesus who most nobly fought and most lovingly died that we each might find our true freedom. Thank you Jesus. We remember you this Memorial Day weekend.