Remembering and practicing sacrifice.

Today is a day to be grateful for sacrifice. Remembrance Sunday.

Today we remember countless thousands who have given their all to protect and defend others. People who have encountered the horrendous reality of war, who have stepped up time and time again, who have taken up residence on the front lines of battle. They do more for us than we will ever know. And whatever our thoughts or feelings towards war, these people deserve our honour and gratitude. They are heroes.

Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

2.91% of our great nation killed in World War I.

383,000 killed in World War II

3,000 killed on September 11th. And countless more in the war against terror.

The stories and numbers go on and on.

The price is huge. The loss is phenomenal.

And so we remember their sacrifice, and the sacrifice of friends and families who now grieve.

And we are grateful.

Because they bought our freedom.

And maybe our remembering should lead us forward. Perhaps it encourages us to pick up the mantel and actually practice sacrifice.

And I know that I can’t really do much about the brokenness that is already past, the brokenness of our wars gone by, or the grieving of families and friends. But I can do something about the brokenness around me now, whether the personal struggles of family and friends, the evident hurt of a stranger I walked past on my way to church, or the stories in the news that tug on my heart and provoke a response. I can do something about them. I can pour out love and I can pour out life. I can join in with the song of restoration that is being played all over the world, through imperfect churches and ordinary heroes. I can chose to join in, make a step in the right direction, walk across the room.

And all that I know of poverty, of human brokenness, demands a sacrifice from me. It demands my love. Restoration and breakthrough don’t happen when people stand still. Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”. And I am not afforded the luxury of doing nothing. Jesus doesn’t give me that option. Because he sacrificed and gave it all. And I am following him.

And so today, I will remember, I will be grateful and I will practice.

Lest we forget.

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