John 15:13-17 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.
Another reflection from Arlington: As we were following the procession through the cemetery, one is immediately struck with the vastness of the markers filling the countryside. It did not seem a place of overwhelming darkness, but of radiant light. And I had an interesting sense of those buried there. I felt as if I were surrounded, not by a great host of individuals from various homeplaces all over our country, but rather that I was surrounded by friends, and loving friends, at that. And my mind went to this scripture from John. . . Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. And then I thought of the lines of our patriotic song, played by the band at the graveside: "O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife, Who more than self their country love, And mercy more than life!
There was another who gave Himself for us, even more fully than did those soldiers. His name is Jesus Christ. I've been to the place where they believe was His tomb also. And it is empty. He conquered our enemy called death, rising victoriously with resurrection life. And just as He died for us, He also lives that we might live in His glorious life. There is great fruit from those many soldiers who gave themselves to serve our country. And there is great fruit from the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And herein we find real love, not just a mushy feeling, but a powerful choice to give oneself fully for the good of another. The victory we can live in and walk in is seen in a loving Savior; it is seen in countless Christians through the ages who have given themselves fully to the cause of Christ even to die for Him. And it is seen every day in all our lives as we choose not to live unto ourselves, but to live in surrender to all that is good and pure and true, friends of our friend, who is our Commander-in-Chief and leads us in His noble causes to expand His Kingdom, the Kingdom of Light, Life, and Love.
Jesus said, ". . . Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself (John 12:31, 32)." And we hear that heavenly voice say: . . . "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them!. . .(Revelation 12:10-12).
Friends, we're all in this thing together!