Today, we celebrate Memorial Day. It originated as Decoration Day after the Civil War when Union veterans and their families decorated the graves of the North’s fallen. Later, the South took up the practice to recognize Rebel soldiers who had died during the war. Eventually, these celebrations were merged into Memorial Day to memorialize Americans who died in all wars in which the U.S. fought. Usually, the graves of soldiers who died in military service to our country are decorated with flags.
On this special day, all of us may be reminded of something Jesus said in John 15:13 (NIV): “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’e friends.” Jesus did not make this statement in the context of war, but it rings true on a day like today when we remember those who did lay down their lives for friends and for people they didn’t even know. That sounds like the way Jesus laid down his life for us.
Jesus actually made this famous statement in the context of love. In addition to the statement about laying down one’s life for a friend, Jesus made other statements about love in chapter 9 of John’s gospel.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I love you. Now remain in my love.” (John 15:9)
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
“This is my command: Love each other.” (John 15:17)
As we remember today those who died in war, let us pray that one of these days, the love that Jesus taught and showed by example will bring peace to the world.