Canadian Legion Branch #132 Service of Remembrance: Nov. 11, 2015
What a privilege it was for me to be a part of our Legion’s Remembrance Day Ceremony this morning. From the singing of our national anthem, prayers by Padre George Debarr, and the singing of the hymn “O God Our Help in Ages Past” to the reading of the names of service personnel who made the supreme sacrifice from the Beausejour and Brokenhead District, the Act of Remembrance, and the reading of In Flanders Fields, it was a special service indeed. What follows is the message I shared as a part of this morning celebration:
Remembrance Day 2015 Message:
Good morning. It is a very great honour and privilege for me to be able to share with you on this Remembrance Day. I am here today to honour and pay respect to the many courageous men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to purchase our freedom in our nation of Canada. I am so proud of the fact that my grandfather Andrew Bogle was a seaman in the Royal Canadian Navy, a World War II Vet, my grandfather Conrad Carpenter served in the Canadian Army, also a World War II Vet, and that my youngest son, Austin, has been a member of the Beausejour Air Cadets for the past two years. We will remember. We will not forget.
My Scripture reading for today is from the Gospel of John, Chapter 15, verses 12-13: Jesus said, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
What would motivate someone to be willing to leave the comforts of home, travel to a foreign country, and literally lay down their life for another person? The answer is love. Every courageous man or woman who gave up their life so that we could be free did so to purchase our freedom. For that, we must make sure we never forget. You are free today because someone loved you!
As I think about those words that Jesus spoke, I am reminded of a favourite story of mine that so beautifully illustrates the greatest love of all, where one would be willing to lay down one’s life for a friend.
This is the story about a little girl named Liza who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her five-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. He hesitated for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, ‘Yes, I’ll do it if it will save Liza.’
As quickly as they were able, the doctor’s set a date for the surgery, and when the day arrived, they wheeled Liza and her young brother into the hospital room. As the transfusion progressed, he lay in a bed next to his sister and smiled, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, ‘Will I start to die right away?’ Being young, the boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give her all his blood.
I think that story is such a beautiful picture of every person who has willingly laid down their life so that we could live – glorious and free.
The Bible also says: “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8). Isn’t that an amazing thought to know that God is good, and He loves us? That’s Good news!
Today as we celebrate Remembrance Day, let us remember to stop and thank God for those who have paid the price for our freedom.
Whenever we sing “O Canada”, our prayer is, “God keep our land, glorious and free.” That’s my prayer today for our Canada! Let’s honour the soldiers who have given their lives so we can be free, and thank God for Jesus who died so that we could live. You are loved. You are free! So live life to the fullest, and be grateful for the blessing that we can live glorious and free.
Closing Prayer. Lord, thank you for the men and women who died so that we could live. We pray a special blessing upon every soldier that serves our country, and every family member of everyone who serves in the military. Thank you for the amazing privilege of living in this nation of Canada, and for all of the freedoms that we enjoy. And thank you Jesus that you died for us on the Cross, paid the price for our sins to be forgiven, so that all who call upon your name can be saved. We rejoice today for all of the many blessings you have bestowed upon us. In Jesus’ precious name, amen.
Pastor Chris Jordan