God bless the men and women of our United Stated military who have made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives for our country – literally for me and you – so that we can all enjoy the benefits of their sacrifice. I am reminded today of the lesson that Jesus teaches us and described in St. Paul’s letter to the Romans 5:6
“…6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
These brave people who we remember this weekend did just that – they laid down their lives for people they would never meet, many of whom were yet to be born. Like Christ they did not discriminate. They died for the righteous as well as the sinners. I thought about that in the context of the present state of our country. How willing would any of us be to die for this country if we indeed reflected on the news of the day? What is so special about this country that we still have soldiers sacrificing their lives for it? Frankly, I find that America has become less worthy of these glorious men and women when I see the direction our leadership has taken us. With our permission, our government has made this once great land of ours not-so-special, increasingly mediocre and in fact a shadow of what it was intended to be.
How did this happen? To me it’s quite simple. I have come to believe that the only thing that makes us or any country or civilization truly special is their relationship with God. The founders of this country understood that. They acknowledged God as the source of all good things. They established all America was, is and could be on the simple notion, ‘’that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. (taken from the Declaration of Independence)
Good stuff these guys left us with. But what have we done with it? I recently read about a movement to remove the Bible from libraries and hotel rooms; we still support the killing of unborn babies; we prop up corrupt and God-less countries; we remove God from our schools and public buildings; we demean His place in our very existence as a nation. And so we should not be surprised that when we turn our backs on God as a nation there will be consequences – and they are not good. One only has to observe the present election cycle to see where America is headed. Actually C.S. Lewis speaks about this phenomenon in the book Mere Christianity with this brilliant discourse of what happens when we, as God’s creations, decide to turn away from God and toward the alternative:
“….That is the key to history. Terrific energy is expended – civilizations are built up – excellent institutions are devised (e.g. the Constitution); but each time something goes wrong. Some fatal flaw always brings the selfish and cruel people to the top and it all slides back into misery and ruin. In fact, the machine (institution, government, country) conks. It seems to start up all right and run a few yards, and then it breaks down. They are trying to run it on the wrong juice. That is what Satan has done to us humans…”
But of course there is hope – there always is. A nation is only as good as its people; and its people are only good as their beliefs. The choice of course is ours. Each day, one decision at a time we just need to ask, ‘what would Jesus do?’ and then do it, regardless of ‘public opinion’. It will take time, maybe more than what some of us have on this earth, but it’s still worth the effort. We can become worthy again as a nation – worthy of the sacrifices made by the thousands of our military and their families. We can be what God intended and what our fore-fathers imagined – a people, a nation and a belief worth dying for:
“…For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Eph 2:10.