This post was originally written for Laced With Grace June 2018. I thought it was appropriate to share here today – Memorial Day 2020
This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending my friend’s aunt’s funeral in Arlington National Cemetery. “Aunt Jeanette” aka “The Colonial” had died months ago but a full military funeral didn’t happen until a few days ago. For me any visit to Arlington National Cemetery is overwhelming. The sheer number of graves is staggering. To ponder how men and women have served our country through the centuries is awe-inspiring. To be there this weekend and see a small American flag by each tombstone was sobering.
The funeral began with a Catholic Mass in the Old Post Chapel, a beautiful small white steepled church with impressive stained-glass windows. It continued as we drove slowly behind horse-drawn wagon carrying a flag-draped casket to the grave site as an army band kept time. The chaplain now in his military uniform with a chest full of medals instead of his priestly garb offered further words of comfort. Rifles fired in a twenty-one-gun salute, an American flag was expertly folded and handed to my friend “on the behalf of a grateful nation” and then a lone bugler played taps. There were centuries of tradition, respect and remembrance in every aspect of the ceremony.
” Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 NIV
Being at Arlington reminded me that many have died for the freedoms I enjoy. I recognized those freedoms were bought at a high price and I am grateful. I was also struck by the realization that only One could and did pay the price for my sins and for that I am eternally grateful.
“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 NIV
I liked the way those same verses were paraphrased in The Message.
” Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so, we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.” 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 The Message
“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:22-23 NIV