Here’s a Thought for Nov. 10

“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the world celebrated! Why? Because World War I was over. President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation to celebrate Armistice Day on Nov. 11.

In 1921, an unknown World War I American soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. This site, on a hillside overlooking the Potomac River and the city of Washington D.C., became the focal point of reverence for America’s veterans.

On Memorial Day 1958, two more unidentified American soldiers were brought from overseas and interred in the plaza beside the unknown soldier of World War I. One was killed in World War II, the other in the Korean War. In 1984, an unknown serviceman from Vietnam was placed alongside the others. To honor these men, symbolic of all Americans who gave their lives in all wars, an Army Honor Guard keeps vigil, day and night.

Thus, we remember those who have died protecting our freedoms and rights and all those who presently serving in our Armed Forces, who continue to sacrifice their time, talents, and when called upon to offer their lives in defense of all our nation’s freedom and rights.

We have veterans in our families, our communities, our churches and faith congregations.

To them and to all veterans we say, “Thank you!”

Throughout our nation’s history, our veterans have demonstrated a heart committed to a cause: The cause of freedom. The cause of courage. The cause of love of country. The cause of constitutional self-government. Our veterans were and are committed to a cause!

Let me ask you a question: To what are you committed? For what cause would you risk life? For what purpose would you dedicate your energies… your finances, and your time?

The freedoms we enjoy today, including the freedom to move from place to place as we wish, the freedom to elect our governing officials and the freedom we have to gather in our houses of prayer to worship — these freedoms and more were bought with a price. We need only look at the recent events in the world, to be reminded of the enormity of that price. Every conflict we’ve ever been involved in has had its share of casualties, of sons or daughters lost, as well as sons or daughters returning home safely, sometimes to a hero’s welcome.

His name was Jesus, raised in Nazareth, the Scriptures give us little or nothing to go on about his early life, other than the familiar Christmas Gospel accounts. After that, there is a significant jump ahead in time to his adult life and his Gospel ministry, His suffering and death on Calvary’s Cross and his physical resurrection.

And as a direct result of Jesus sacrifice and victory over all sin, death and the power of the devil; we have God’s promise that the ultimate victory in this world — the one which guarantees us eternity with him — is ours, through the sacrificial love of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As we observe this Veterans Day weekend, let’s remember those who have served and continue to serve our country by seeking out opportunities to say two simple words: “Thank you.” Thank them for their commitment to their country and its freedoms.

At the same time, give thanks to God, also, for his Son’s sacrifice, and his willingness to serve, his commitment to our spiritual freedom and our eternal salvation. Amen.

Chopp is a chaplain emeritus, MDiv, BCC, from Marshall