This weekend, in the United States of America, we give attention to sacrifice. Jesus said that there is no greater sacrifice than one to lay down his life for a friend. Decoration Day began in the aftermath of the Civil War. No war in our country before or since had so thoroughly impacted our nation in the cost of human life. More American lives were lost in that war than in World Wars I and II combined. In 1868 people were encouraged to decorate the graves of those lost in this terrible conflict. Later, after World War I the practice was expanded to honor those who had died in all wars and the observance took the name of Memorial Day.
As long as evil is in the world there will be the need to defend against it. The brave men and women of our armed forces today stand guard against those who would be a threat to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Already in this year, lives have been lost in this service.
The fact that it takes sacrifice to overcome evil is as old as the animals killed to clothe Adam and Eve after evil entered the world through their disobedience. The point was further made as animal sacrifices were offered and finally the sacrificial system was laid out to Moses and recorded in the Torah (first five books of our Old Testament). The crown and completion of this truth came in the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.
The fact that the sacrifice of a life has significance honors that sacrifice. Jesus has once and for all conquered evil. This gives the assurance that those today who lay down their lives to combat evil are not fighting a losing battle. Evil loses. Righteousness wins.
Unfortunately, until Jesus brings all things to completion, we will still decorate the graves of those who combat the evil of this world. Until then, we go about the work of eradicating evil one person at a time by preparing people to meet Jesus.