Raise your hand if you want to be honored today, Memorial Day.
I don’t want to be honored because I don’t want to be dead yet. Neither did the ones we honor. Most didn’t intend to die, either when they signed on or in the moment. Most hoped they could serve their country, come home, start a family, leave a legacy. But they simply left. We give them a legacy by remembering their sacrifice. We stop and consider and gushingly thank those who were mown down by war.
Memorial Day has also become a time to thank those who sign on to wear the uniform because who knows whether or not they sign their death warrants for X days hence. All jobs are jobs but some jobs bring the scythe closer than others. The downside of being a car salesman is that it rains on Memorial Day. The downside of being a soldier is that you get honored on Memorial Day.
Even being God has a downside.
Jesus: hanging from a cross, betrayed, mocked, spit upon, naked, all in front of His mother, and for what? Not like anyone anywhere thinks He deserved it. The enigma is how they justified themselves to put Him there. Yes, the downside to being Jesus is that whole crucifixion dying-for-everyone aspect to His job.
The Holy Spirit. Jesus had to go away so the Holy Spirit could come. That was the deal. At first I thought the Holy Spirit had the greener grass.
Then I realized He has to live inside people like me.
People who, at times, make Him want to retch or cry or rage or slink off into a corner. Were I Mother Teresa or Brother Andrew, or Jim Elliot, the Holy Spirit would have the cushy job. But He has to live in my bad days as well as my good. He has to deal on a day-to-day basis with that most annoying aspect of the equation: free will. The Holy Spirit may just have the worst job of all, living in disobedient, backslidden Christians who don’t give a rap about Him. Let me not be the person who makes the Holy Spirit wish He were Jesus or the Father…
Because God keeps his promises. And He promised to live inside those who would ask. One can die but one can not be unborn.
The Father. Not just the Principal Of-the-Old-Testament. I fear He is often misunderstood. Feminists like to call God “she” and get worked up over the imagery, but the imagery is a signpost or– if you’ll open up to it– a bludgeon for a hard heart. Think of your child. Now think– your neighbor’s kid needs a heart transplant. So the Father-God response is to put your son on the operating table– no anesthesia– and have his heart cut out. The Father-God gives His son because someone has to pay the price for the wayward listing of humanity. Someone perfect. The Father surely would have preferred it be Him rather than His son, just as we would step in front of any bullet heading for our children. We would step with gladness.
The imagery of God the father sacrificing Jesus His son should punch us in the gut and double us over forever if we consider it for more than a nanosecond, if we let it in. Most of us don’t. We figure it was somehow easy for God to sacrifice His son because… well, He’s God. Everything is easy when you’re the captain, right? Does experience ever teach us that power and responsibility equals easy? Our debut and ensuing serpentine crawl through the parental battlefield teaches exactly the opposite: no love equals that of a parent for his child, and nothing is easy about the lordship of one’s own castle.
Now see God that way. Giving the gift of Jesus wasn’t easy.
The sorrow of Memorial Day could be a tsunami if we stop chewing our hotdogs for a reverent moment. Yes, and the sorrow of God the father at what He
had chose to do– that should wipe us out. But too often we mourn like car salesmen, that it’s raining on our big sales day.
Mourn the downside of being a soldier this Memorial Day.
Mourn today and every day hereafter, the downside of being God. If you dare.
The Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. – 1 John 4:14
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16