Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day and Christianity?

I was inspired by a message from my pastor yesterday, (Matt Chandler/The Village Church,, on how we (as Christians) should think about Memorial Day.

He shared his phone conversations with one of his brother ministers who this year took up a mission in The People’s Republic of China. When they speak on the phone they must be very careful what they say, for you never know who may be listening in that country, since being convicted of sharing the Gospel and/or proselytizing can easily land you in jail or worse. Because of this, they have developed a very simplistic code system, which allows them to speak about the Church and it’s success and/or failure without every really talking about it. Needless to say, it can result in humorous and even confusing messages, if both parties aren’t synched up on the code, (“We are running short of ‘user manuals’ at the office, can you ship us over another 500?”).

So what does this all have to do with Memorial Day? Simple! On this day every year, we should bow down in prayer before God and thank him for all the people who have sacrificed their blood that we may live in a country where speaking in code about our Lord is not necessary!

Living our entire lives under the protection of freedom of speech and religion, we tend to forget that such freedoms are not universal. We may look at being imprisoned or executed for speaking about Jesus and his gospel as historical and belonging to a bygone era, when in reality it still happens daily in many parts of our world! In my Eye Witness books, I write about and illustrate followers of Jesus being beaten, stoned and crucified, (see:, but 2000+ years later these same punishments occur regularly to Christians, (though the cross has been replaced with more modernized forms of torture and execution).

We may sometimes find we are not very enthusiastic about some of the things our current leadership is doing, but that does not mean that our philosophy or system is wrong… maybe just a bit askew sometimes. But our country is still the paragon of freedom that allows our church to flourish and we must always remember those who laid their lives down to make that a reality.

So May God bless those who had the courage to provide the freedoms under which we can freely worship on this Memorial Day 2007!

Robert Luedke

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