Dr. James C. Denison
President, Center for Informed Faith, Dallas, TX
May 31, 2011
Holding high the torch of freedom
Of the holidays unique to America, is any more significant than Memorial Day?
Beginning with our Revolutionary War, more than 1.1 million women and men have died in the defense of our country. More than 5,900 have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. Some 2.4 million Americans are engaged in active or reserve service to our nation this morning.
President Obama marked Memorial Day by laying a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. Communities around the country held parades to honor our military men and women. One proud father said of his son’s service in Iraq, “I am thankful for his return, but also thankful that he volunteered to serve his country. He served to prevent more terrorist attacks—and to let people know terrorists won’t get away with it.”
Last night Janet and I watched the PBS “National Memorial Day Concert” and thought of our two sons. I cannot imagine the pain which parents, spouses and children of fallen soldiers endure around our country this morning. My father served in the Second World War, and his father in the First. Both fought to protect our nation and our freedom. How can I join them in this battle today? How can you?
George Bernard Shaw once claimed, “This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it what I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It’s a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”
God is calling us to make the torch of freedom burn brightly this morning. First, he calls some of us to military service, joining Moses, Joshua and David in the noble work of fighting for a cause worth its cost. Second, he calls some of us to social and political service, seeking to be salt and light as we influence our nation for good. Third, he calls all of us to spiritual service. Radical Muslims are fighting a battle for souls; this struggle “is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).
Have you prayed this morning for God to lead our leaders and protect our soldiers? Have you submitted your day to your King, asking him to use your influence for his Kingdom? Have you prayed for spiritual awakening to sweep our nation and the Muslim world?
How highly will you hold the torch of freedom today?