Memorial Day is a time each year when Americans remember those who have died while serving their country in the military. It is a time of reflecting on the ultimate sacrifice some have made to ensure the prosperity and safety of others. Since Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May, it results in a three-day weekend. Traditionally, this holiday also marks the beginning of the summer vacation season. Many Americans celebrate with traveling, recreation, and barbecues. In one sense, this flourishing of leisure activities seems strangely juxtaposed with the selflessness of those being remembered. Yet the liberty we enjoy and engage in over Memorial Day weekend is precisely what our soldiers have died to defend.
Today, as I reflect on this, I cannot help but remember another sacrifice and another three days—Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Truly, the cross was the war to end all wars, a war Jesus fought alone. When we eat torn pieces of bread and sip wine together, we remember His torn body and spilled blood. We remember it is for freedom that Christ liberated us (Gal. 5:1). We are free to travel the extra mile; free to bring the kingdom which heals, gives life, and masters darkness; free to enjoy re-creation: of ourselves, of others, of this world. (Matt. 5:41, 10:8; 2 Cor. 5:17). When we remember Jesus, we remember what He suffered for us. We remember that we are now the body He gives for the life of the world (John 6:51).