1 John 3:11-21

Friday, November 2, 2018

The Supreme Sacrifice

Facing the Future

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. 1 John 3:16

On May 5, 1866, Waterloo, NY first celebrated a community-wide event during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags. Two years later, General John A. Logan called for a nationwide day of remembrance. As a result, May 30, 1868, became the first “Decoration Day.” In 1971, Memorial Day, as it had become known, became an official federal holiday on the last Monday in May each year.

The Civil War had claimed more lives than any other conflict in U. S. history and required the establishment of the country's first national cemeteries. Families and communities in both the North and South felt the need to pay tribute to heroes and loved ones who had made the supreme sacrifice for their sacred causes. During World War I the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.

One of the greatest questions with which any society wrestles is how to honor those who have laid down their lives for the greater good. How can people repay so great a sacrifice or express so deep a gratitude for those who have given everything to protect their freedom? In today's scripture, John made mention of another memorial day. He defined the supreme sacrifice as love and also clarified the proper response to that love with a sacrifice of our own. In John 15:14, he wrote, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Got love?