May 28, 2007

The Cost of Freedom

Our freedom has a cost. Christians and Americans know this well: as Americans we have time and time again had to beat back bullies who would take our freedom from us and from others - in the Revolutionary war, it was about freedom from unfair taxation, in the civil war, from denying freedom to African Americans and abolishing slavery, in WWI and II it was about freeing the world from tyrrany. In the Cold War we fought our own to regain our civil liberties from the McCarthyists, and In the Gulf War we were party to freeing Kuwait of an invading army.

There have been many times that the freedom of others - a freedom that is very important to Americans - has been paid in blood; the blood of the enemy, and the blood of our own soldiers, men, women, and even sometimes children. We loathe the cost, a cost that should never have to be paid. But there are men and women who willingly lay down their lives so that the freedom of others may continue.

I've been watching a lot of movies about freedom lately. The other night, we watched
The Majestic. One character says "When bullies rise up, the rest of us have to beat them back down, whatever the cost. That's a simple idea I suppose, but one worth giving everything for." Kingdom of Heaven is another great example. In a conversation about religion, a priest says,
"I put no stock in religion. By the word religion I have seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the will of god. I have seen too much religion in the eyes of too many murderers. Holiness is in right action, and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness. What God desires is here [points to head] and here [points to heart] and what you decide to do every day, you will be a good man - or not."
Two nights ago we once again watched King Arthur. Some memorable quotes:

"No man fears to kneel before the God he trusts. Without faith, without belief in something, what are we?"

"There is no worse death than that of hope."

"Deeds themselves are useless unless they are for some higher purpose."

"What other purpose do we serve if not for such a cause?"

"Knights! The gift of freedom is yours by right. But the home we seek resides not in some distant land, it's in us, and in our actions on this day! If this be our destiny, then so be it. But let history remember, that as free men, we chose to make it so!"

I highly recommend you go rent it.

There was a man, many years ago, who embodied such a message. He died for the men and women he loved. He beat back the bullies so that we - his creation - might taste freedom. This is why Christians know the cost of freedom - our God paid the ultimate price so that we might know such freedom.

On memorial day, we remember the men and women who have gone before us, putting their lives on the line and, when necessary, sacrificing themselves so that we may continue to enjoy the freedom we have.

To those of you who serve in the military, the government, the police, the fire corps, the national guard, the coast guard, and many others; thank you for your sacrifice. Never forget the purpose, the duty with which you have been entrusted, and never forget that we, the people you serve, love you, honor you, and remember you.

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