[forthright] The Thanks of a Grateful Nation

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthright@...>
Date: Tue, 04 Jul 2006 11:52:51 -0500
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Square One

The Thanks of a Grateful Nation
by Richard Mansel

Memorials are common to the history of men. Wars,
tragedies, presidents, and leaders of all kinds
are marked by memorials that dot the landscape.

Our freedom was secured by those who spilled
blood, sweat, and tears in our nation's wars.
Their sacrifices on foreign fields should give us
pause as we contemplate their selflessness. They
deserve the gratitude of a thankful nation eager
to remain free. A nation that vows never to forget
its fallen heroes or forsake their vision.

The group Tom Brokaw called, "The Greatest
Generation," endured the horrors of World War 2,
and we mourn because thousands pass from this life
every month. With them goes the courage, resolve,
and ingenuity that helped build a nation.

Ronald Reagan once made a speech and then opened
the floor to questions. One young man stood and
asked, "How can you understand our generation when
you are so much older than we are? I mean, we have
televisions, jet airplanes, space ships and many
other technologies. You didn't have any of those
when you were our age. So, how can you know what
it is like in our generation?" Reagan politely
said, "You're right. We didn't have those things
when I was your age. We were too busy inventing
them."

This story illustrates the admiration that we
should have for these men and women. Franklin D.
Roosevelt said, "This generation of Americans has
a rendezvous with destiny." Tom Brokaw said, "If
we are to heed the past to prepare for the future,
we should listen to these quiet voices of a
generation that speak to us of duty and honor,
sacrifice and accomplishment. I hope more of their
stories will be preserved and cherished as
reminders of all that we owe them and all that we
can learn from them."

Those of us who are younger need to listen to our
elders. They have much to say that is valuable.
Their stories are a part of our legacy on this
earth.

Joshua was told by God to place stones in the
midst of the Jordan River as a memorial. They
would be "a sign among you when your children ask
in time to come saying, 'What do these stones
mean?'" They were to commemorate God parting the
Jordan River so the priests carrying the ark of
the covenant could pass by on dry land (Joshua
3:14-Joshua 4:7).

Christians must remember those who have gone
before them. Those who have labored to preach the
gospel and have given their lives for the greatest
cause ever created. They hold no hallowed
memorials, no manicured cemeteries and no honored
days. Yet, their sacrifices are no less important
than those whose flags waved for their country.
Their banners were raised for God, and his cause
filled their veins. They knew that the only
memorial that mattered was the Lord's Supper and
the memory of the cross of Christ (1 Corinthians
11:23-34).

Today, the church needs such fierce loyalty to
truth and the gospel call. When Joshua and the
people of God placed the memorial stones in the
Jordan, their enemies heard of their efforts and
their "hearts melted" and "there was no spirit in
them any longer" (Joshua 5:1).

Let us all lift high the sword of the Spirit and
fight the good fight(Ephesians 6:10-20). And like
Winston Churchill before us, we must "never
surrender."     

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