While my hubby and I were celebrating our first anniversary at Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, we took our last day's time to visit historical sites in the area. Being the history buff he is, we decided to see Fort Erie from the War of 1812. It is always interesting to hear and see history from another country's perspective.
We are humbled when we are the foreigners.
In order to appreciate the sites and tours, people have to set aside their pride and prejudices to learn something. That became apparent when a Canadian man who talked with me, very boldly supported the British commonwealth of Canada and claimed how prideful Americans are about our history. Kind of makes you think when you are the foreigner, doesn't it? History always sounds different when it comes from another country's viewpoint. Note: If you notice, there is an American flag flying. The fort was first British, but overtaken by the Americans. The guides were good about sharing from both vantage points.
War is horrible. No matter which side you are on nor your political views, war is horrible. All I could see in my mind as I listened was the desire of people to protect their homes, the value of family member's lives, the blood shed, and the casualties. A grave was found in 1988 when an art teacher was breaking ground to build a home. First one skeleton, then 27 more. In the excavation, they also found buttons, medals, and other things that identified the bodies as Americans. One soldier had been identified. His wishes were that should he die in battle that his remains be buried on the American side of the river. He got his wish. They were all buried in America. Canada felt that was the right thing to do.
Even the winner loses a lot. All involved in war lose lives. An American drummer boy buried bodies from both countries. It was the bloodiest war of the War of 1812. In the video, the narrator said it was very sad since both sides spoke the same language and were of similar" kindred spirits". Regardless of whether people look alike or not, speak the same or different languages, or share the same views or not, war is very expensive. There were a lot of families walking the battlefields to identify bodies of fallen soldiers. Nowadays, you would be lucky to have anything recognizable to identify. As we celebrate Memorial Day with parades, picnics, trips, and barbeques, not only should we remember those who died to protect our freedoms here in America, we should mourn the fact that wars have occurred in the first place.
God is Creator and Ruler of all. Which brings me around to this point: God doesn't choose sides. I remember an episode of "Touched by an Angel" with Roma Downey. The setting was WWII. As the death angel walked through the dead on the battlefield, he told Monica, also an angel, that God is not American, Japanese, or German. God is the Creator of all. I love America and the freedoms we have. The sacrifices so many made with their lives is not forgotten here. Keep in mind, though, America does not have a special covenant with God as many Christians would like to believe. Although we were founded for religious freedom and the people of the time were Christian-ized, America is not God's favored country. Nor is He particular to any country, except Israel. He had a covenant with Israel, but they broke it. So He sent Jesus to die for all so that those all who believe might become His Children.
We all are in need of a Savior.
"So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise." Galatians 3:26-29
Anyone who accepts Jesus as Savior belongs to God. Salvation comes to those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ to wash their sins away. Unlike the bloody bandages and uniforms stained red with human blood, the blood of Jesus washes away our sin so that we will stand clean before God.
Don't get me wrong, we do need to defend our country and stand up for what we believe is right. Freedom comes at a huge cost: Life. Just as soldiers lost their lives so that we can enjoy our home and freedom, Jesus died for us that we might be free. However, the soldiers are dead and buried. Jesus died, then He rose again so that we might have life forever with Him.
You know what's amazing? There will be a lot of people at the Wedding Banquet who are from all over the world. In Matthew 22:1-14,
Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
“Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’
“But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.
“Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Will you be there? I hope so. If you don't know that, then ask Jesus to forgive your sins and thank Him for being your Savior. Ask Him to come into your life.
Many blessings to you!
All Scripture passages from NIV. www. biblegateway.com.