God’s Call to Sacrifice.
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Buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Audie Murphy was the most decorated U.S. soldier in WWII, earning 33 awards and medals (while being wounded three times). He suffered what is now known as post-traumatic stress disorder throughout his life, yet still managed to publish an autobiography, become a country music songwriter, and appear in more than 40 films.
Despite his success, Murphy suffered from an addiction to sleeping pills, and had squandered his fortune on gambling and bad investments at the time of the plane crash that took his life.
Major Murphy was buried with full military honors. His headstone does not recount his film, writing, or country music careers, but rather the many sacrifices he made for his fellow soldiers, the nation, and it’s allies.
Our country recently observed Memorial Day. For many it was just another day off, or a time to have a cookout. For those that have served in the military or have lost a loved one who answered the call, it is a reminder of sacrifice and commitment of the few for the protection of the many.
“Greater love has no one than this,
that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
John 15:13 English Standard Version
Though the passage may be over referenced and familiar, it reiterates not only sacrifice for each other, but that of Christ himself. We often forget that the disciples were his friends. We, too, are his disciples and friends. He took the cross upon himself, so that we might live. There is no greater love or cost. The ransom has been paid so that we may have eternal salvation.
Audie Murphy was memorialized in stone for his acts of valor and self-sacrifice instead of his fame, addiction battles, or personal problems. That is the way Christ views us. It is not about our daily struggles, lofty worldly accomplishments, wealth, sin, or failures. He remembers our commitment and love to him and to those around us, not our shortcomings.
Lord, help me to be courageous in love and sacrifice, for Christ and for others.
Copyright Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Colorado Springs, CO