There’s a lot to talk about this morning. First, there’s the ongoing conversation vis-a-vis this weekend’s post about sexism in Christianity. Then there’s the fact that today is Memorial Day. So I’m going to write about Memorial Day and we’ll pick up the other conversation possibly tomorrow.
Image from the Arlington National Cemetary website
“I came so [you] can have real and eternal life, more and better life than [you] ever dreamed of.” – Jesus: John 10:10
SAVING PRIVATE RYAN:Rebekah asked our friend Jim Edwards to bring the message at church yesterday. Jim – who attends First Presbyterian with his family – is a Navy chaplain with a lot of experience and wisdom to go with his deep faith. He shared an illustration from the movie Saving Private Ryan that turns out to be the perfect bridge between Memorial Day and the idea of living a life-charged life.
The movie, based on a true account from WW2, picks up private Ryan’s story after his three brothers are all killed in action. Six soldiers are commissioned to find Private Ryan and to bring him safely away from the front lines. Eventually Ryan is saved, but five men die in the effort.
Later, toward the end of his life, Private Ryan visits the grave site in Northern France. He looks at the names of the five soldiers who died so that he could live and he asks his wife the following question (paraphrased). “Am I a good man? Has my life honored the sacrifice of those who died?”
LIVE LIKE WE MEAN IT: Of course it’s a question we can all ask on a day like Memorial Day. “”Does my life honor the cost of those who gave everything to secure my freedom?”
Or, thinking about faith, “How could I do anything other than live with passion and purpose in response to what Jesus has done for me?”
Living like we mean it is the least we can do. It can also be the most we can do. Regardless, it is the best that we can do.
Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. – John 10