Rethinking Memorial Day by Don Jolliff
Today is Memorial Day, which is a time to honor the memory of all our soldiers who gave their lives for our country. They deserve our deepest respect and that’s how it should be, but I also feel that, as Christians, we should rethink the reason for their sacrifice. War is contrary to the teachings of Jesus. However, it seems throughout the centuries we have learned very little. We take war as commonplace. One war leads into another so that everything becomes blurred. The Bible says, “The leaders speak peace but war is in their hearts." Most wars have accomplished nothing but untold destruction especially of innocent people who are caught up in it. Even the soldiers who survive come home with damaged minds for what they have seen and participated in. Dr. Eugene Sledge wrote a book about his experience on the islands of Peleliu and Okinawa where he saw savagery, brutality, and horror that no one should ever see. He wrote these words: “None of us would ever be the same after what we had endured. Something in me died at Peleliu. Perhaps it was a childish innocence that accepted as faith that man was basically good. Possibly I lost faith that politicians in high places who do not have to endure war’s savagery will ever stop blundering and sending others to endure it.” Jesus gave his life for all of us so that we can be free from the bondage of sin and to glorify him by living by his words to love one another, to consider others more than ourselves, to forgive everyone, and to restore those who have lost their way. As the Church, it is our duty to Christ that we act as peacemakers in this world. We need to quit electing the same people to Congress who have bought into the Pentagon's plans to keep building newer and better weapons to kill people with. The cost of these programs is in the hundreds of billions of dollars. That tremendous cost could be used to help secure peace in the world also to help millions of people who are starving and devasted by war. Time is running out and Christ said, "The work is plentiful but the workers are few." Let us work to be peacemakers and to fulfill the work of Jesus.