This weekend is Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. Over two dozen cities and towns claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. While Waterloo, N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. Regardless of the exact date or location of its origins, one thing is clear — Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead.
It was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11: “The 30th of May 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed.
The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle. Certainly, America is the best place in the entire world in which to live. We can still enjoy our freedom, choose our own occupation, travel wherever we want to, vote for those we want to be elected, and meet for public worship. All of these things that we take for granted, in many parts of the world, people are not allowed to do. We are very fortunate indeed.
Thank God, thank those who have served their country and thank those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to pay for our freedom. They paid a great debt so that we can be free. But did you know, there was Someone else who paid a great debt for our freedom too? That’s right, over 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, gave His life on Calvary’s cross to pay a debt He didn’t owe. It was our sin debt that He gave His life for, so that we could be free from the bondage of sin. And you know what? When we ask Jesus to forgive us of our sins, and we ask Him into our lives to become the new Manager of our life, He saves us from our sins and gives us the gift of eternal life. Our name is then written in the Book of Life and we are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day that Jesus calls us home to be with Him for all eternity.
Now even though eternal life has been paid for by Jesus death on the cross … like a gift it has to be received. I know it sounds too simple, but just this week, I talked with a young couple in their home, explained to them that God loves us and He doesn’t want us to spend our eternity in hell, so He allowed His only Son to pay the sin debt so that we could be free. They both believe in God, they believe that Jesus died for their sins and they did what many people have not done yet — they asked Jesus to come into their life, save them from their sins and they accepted the free gift of eternal life. What a great time we had talking about the things to come and that one day, we will spend our eternity in Heaven with God.
That is going to be the Ultimate Freedom that anyone can enjoy. What about you? As an American you are free. But to be truly free — free from the penalty of sin — you must accept Jesus as your Savior. And then, you will have another reason to celebrate this weekend.
And that is Something to Think About for this week.
Please keep several of us in your prayers as we ride our motorcycles to Washington, D.C. to observe Rolling Thunder (M.I.A. and P.O.W.). I would appreciate your prayer cover. Thank you.
If you are on Facebook, you can watch our service “live” on Sunday morning at 10:45 a.m. Simply “like” our Facebook page at Crossroadslondon and watch.
Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 62 E. Second St., London. He can be reached at 740-852-7800, email him at email@example.com, www.3C-Church.org or visit the church’s Facebook page at Crossroadslondon.