Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command . . . This is my command: Love each other.
- John 15:13,14,17 NIV
Today is Veterans Day. There will be celebrations and parades. We will remember and honor those men and women who served this country in the Armed Forces -- who were willing to make "the ultimate sacrifice", if necessary, for the well-being of others.
The words above are spoken by Jesus. Whenever I think of those who are willing to lay down their lives for others, I think of these words. Our Christian faith is made possible by Jesus who laid down his life for us on a Roman cross. It is what Jesus did for his "friends." In these words, Jesus defines what it means to be his "friend" - it is someone who does what Jesus commands. And in the last verse above, Jesus tells us what he commands - "Love each other."
We live in a world that was created good, but has fallen short of what God intended it to be. It is a world that has sin and brokenness, as well as goodness and grace. If we all really lived out Jesus' command to "Love each other" then we would not need armies and police forces. But because of our sinfulness, we need those willing to maintain order. It is a difficult job. Thankfully, most who do this job, do it well!
Today, I hope you will say a prayer of thanksgiving for all of those who keep order in our world and do what is right and just. That is sometimes a life-threatening task. I would also invite you to pray for God's just peace in our world, and to do what you can to work for it. Ask God to show you what you can do. Finally, do what Jesus commands: "Love each other." If we all did that, we would not need anyone to lay down their lives. One day, God promises it will be that way - but until then, we are all called to love one another the way Christ did.
Prayer for Today
Gracious God, we thank for those in our world who are willing to lay down their lives in order to maintain a safe and just world for others. We pray for peace, so that no one will have to lay down their life for others. In hope we look forward to the day when that will be the way it is. We pray this in the name of Jesus, who laid down his life for us all. Amen.