Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season, or the forty days leading up to Resurrection Sunday, you may like to say Easter. My dad always fasted meat for those forty days. Since this is the first Lenten season since he went to heaven I feel like I ought to carry out the tradition in honor of him. God doesn’t care if I eat meat all He wants me to do is honor His name by loving my fellow-man as myself and keeping His commandments, but I think it will make me feel good to do it. So what’s it all about? To me, simply put, it is a way to tell Jesus that we remember and honor His sacrifice on the cross for us, in other words, a way to say Thank You!
Someone sent pictures to my email that were made during the Viet Nam War. One picture in particular captured my attention, stirred my soul, and made me sick to my stomach and angry, all at the same time. It showed an emaciated child squatting on the ground; you could see that death was not far from him. Behind him was a vulture, at least giving him the courtesy of dying, before he devoured what flesh was left on his pitiful bones. The caption said the photographer that snapped that picture committed suicide soon after he had taken it. I saw other pictures of people from WWll standing behind fences with their fingers reaching through; begging for help, knowing their destination was the death chamber. But there is one picture that I remember from my school days; it was Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima. It is a historic photograph taken on February 23, 1945, by Joe Rosenthal. It depicts five United States Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsmen raising the flag of the United States atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. Of the six men depicted in the picture, three were killed during the battle. I thank those men for standing up for me, protecting my rights and freedoms with their life’s blood. Viet Nam comes closer to home as so many young men that I knew went and fought in those jungles, and whatever you think of the outcome, they were there to defend our honor. I thank them for giving their time, efforts, in some cases their sanity, and their lives to protect and defend me. My voice is small, and unless this obscure article is read, no one will know that I appreciate their efforts, but it makes me feel better to at least say it to you, and hopefully you will also speak out and say your own thanks to someone who has served in the defense of our America.
Jesus hung on a thankless cross to defend and protect our freedom of salvation, our right to have an eternal home in the heavenlies, to have healing and help with our asking. I thank Him for giving His life for me, for saving me, for healing me. As our young men left homes protected and loved by parents to go into war zones, Jesus left the comfort of heaven to face the war zone Satan planned for Him on this earth. As I did not earn my salvation by any acts of righteousness, I have not earned the protection by any man or woman who has ever served in the military. The Marine’s “Semper Fidelis” says it for all branches of the military and for our Savior, “Always Faithful”!