Today is Memorial Day when we recognize and honor those men and women who have bravely given of themselves physically, mentally and emotionally to make our country and our world a better and safer place to live.
There was a time, though, when our men and women were returning from Vietnam, that the sentiment toward them was not so favorable. And because of that many of them felt the need to hide who they were, so they donned their civilian clothes before leaving the plane that carried them home. They walked through the airport with no fan fare, no congratulatory handshake, no respect given for the great sacrifice they had offered while doing the job they were called to do. It was a sad and shameful way to treat our countrymen and women.
I hope that we learn a lesson from that time in our not-so-distant past, and that we soberly remember with a sense of awe and gratitude what our men and women in uniform have done for us, though we are a stranger to them. I pray that we, as a country, never walk that road of ingratitude again, but that we give our servicemen and women the highest respect that is due of one who gives of themselves under the banner of our own Stars and Stripes.
And I pray that those of us who consider ourselves as soldiers in another kind of service - service to the Lord of lords - will also remember one another as we serve on the front lines of this battle of another kind, a battle of unseen, dark forces, a battle waged in the Spirit. The world will not support us, but we must support one another.
We must love one another, pray for one another and when one of us is down we must come quickly to the aid of that person and help them in whatever way we can. If they need prayer, pray with them. If they need a hand to hold or arms to embrace, offer yours. If they need words of encouragement, pray for wisdom and then offer what the Lord has given you.
I pray that each of us is part of providing an atmosphere of support for one another so that no one needs to feel ashamed in reaching out for help. None of us knows what a day will bring and whether or not we will be the one in need of a helping hand.
“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:16-18)