War and violence are fundamental human characteristics.
Memorial Day is a day in which Americans honor those who gave their lives in military service, particularly during wartime. War is an invention as old as time. As much as we would hope that humanity might one day reach a time of peace, someone will inevitably want what someone else has, and war will ensue.
Though America has not experienced organized battle on its soil in quite some time, it seems our world is always at war. Many learn to live in harmony with the boom of mortars and RPGs. The sounds of war are a common nightly lullaby in parts of the world.
Though our streets are not war-torn at present, we do suffer from the loss of brothers, sons, sisters, and daughters dying in distant battles. Yesterday, we mourned the loss of those countrymen.
We are a created in the image of the King of Peace
We are created in the image of the King of Peace, yet we war against God and man. War is an invention as old as time and an entrenched part of our nature.
‘Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.’
‘The venom of asps is under their lips.’
‘Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.’
‘Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.’
Our feet are swift to shed blood. There is poison on our lips. We are violent toward each other and we are violent toward God:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
However, God made peace with man by the cross.
For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.
War is temporary, peace is forever.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’ And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’
Behold, God is making all things new. He is not making a new earth in the same sense in which you might purchase a new car when your old one can go no farther. It’s more like restoring a vintage corvette. You may buy a new corvette or mustang, and people may stop and stare, but when a restored classic rolls down the road that new car is old news.
There is a special beauty about something that is restored. When something beaten, battered, and weathered is brought back to its former glory, it has a quality about it that is more precious than when it was brand new.
That is part of why it is all the rage to renovate downtown buildings and businesses. We love refinished original hardwood floors and to expose brick walls. We love shows like American Pickers and Fixer Upper, because we love to see life brought back to something that appeared dead. There is unique beauty in a redemption story.
Memorial Day’s days are numbered
Our warring world is a classic corvette buried in the weeds of an old abandoned lot. It’s a scuffed and beaten old pine floor hidden by musty linoleum in a building downtown. But God is making all things new.
And all the mourning, all the crying, all the pain is, as 2 Corinthians 4:17 says, “Preparing us for a weight of glory beyond all comparison.”
We mourn the loss of our veterans for a little while. Our floors are a little more scuffed by war each day, but for those who believe in Christ, there will come a Day when he will wipe away every tear from our eyes. Death shall be no more, neither shall there be crying, nor tears, nor pain anymore.
Memorial Day is temporary, peace is forever.