Monday, May 25, 2015

How Should Christ's Followers Respond to Memorial Day?

It's Memorial Day again. This is the day that our culture tells us we are to remember American soldiers who have died in combat. Some people do this, while many others just enjoy a day off work and maybe a juicy burger.

As those who claim Jesus Christ as Lord, how ought we respond to this day? Should we follow the cultural status quo by remembering the military dead? Or, should we simply ignore the whole thing and enjoy a day of freedom from our normal labors?

I'd like to suggest a third option. We Christians, while enjoying a restful day, ought to spend some time remembering. However, what we remember will be significantly different from what typical Americans do.

Let's remember that war is terrible.

Let's remember that war is always terrible.

Let's remember that "just wars" do not exist.

Let's remember that wars do not solve problems.

Let's remember that wars have all sorts of unforeseen long-term consequences.

Let's remember the war dead from every country, both military and civilian.

Let's remember that Christians ought never participate in war.

38 You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you (Matthew 5:38-42).
43 You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy." 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:43-48).

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