War is part of the human experience. War highlights the worst and best of humanity.
The worst is easily grasped. The lust for power and self-importance reaches its fullest expression when lives are sacrificed to feed man’s cravings for domination. Over the centuries, countless millions have been slaughtered and maimed to feed the blood lust of the powerful. People grow to live for the carnage. War is the ultimate stage to display the ugliness of the human heart.
But, war also allows us to see the best of mankind. There are those who answer the call to war because they know their own lives have no meaning if lived only for themselves. Men and women with a clear vision face death because they know self-preservation ultimately leads to self-destruction. People are willing to die so that evil can be challenged and defeated. Such commitment takes courage.
Where does the courage of the fallen come from?
Man was made in the image of God. It is true that our sins blur, tarnish and partially obfuscate that image. But the image remains, nonetheless. It breaks through in the courage of the fallen. But this courage does not originate in the spirit of man. It comes from the timeless image of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit proclaims that is because of Christ one person will lay down his life for another. The courage, commitment, and self-sacrificing love of Christ is part of the image of God that we all bear. Though some live to obliterate this image, there are others who will follow it, even at the cost of their own life.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”
It is from of Christ alone that the courage of the fallen springs. This Memorial Day remember and honor this courage. But remember most of all the love of Christ, the warrior who gave his life for the glory of his Father.