Hebrews 12: 1-2: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
We celebrate Memorial Day in honor of those soldiers who fought in wars but didn’t come home. They gave their lives for our country.
Today let’s do a Spiritual Memorial Day. There are many spiritual saints who are in heaven today because they gave their lives for the gospel. Most of the Apostles who went on to share the story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ gave their lives either by crucifixion, stoning, or burning at the stake. We remember later in history people like Joan of Arc who was burned at the stake and many who we never knew their names but suffered the same fate. Early missionaries went to dark places and were killed. The missionaries like Jim Elliot and Nate Saint who were killed by the Auca Indians in South America or more recently the Coptic Christian men who were taken to the beach and slaughtered by Isis but they would not renounce their faith. And all of the believers who we will never know in China, North Korea, Iran, or Iraq who are being killed today for their faith. They are the great cloud of witnesses.
We take it all for granted. As someone said, “Freedom isn’t free.” We are blessed to be living in America. This weekend let’s take a moment and remember the soldiers who gave their lives so that we can live in a free country but also all of the saints who through the course of history gave their lives and would not renounce their faith in Jesus Christ.