Matthew 10:39 – Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
It's not a popular thing, in these times, to be a fan of the Canadian Armed Forces. The times, politics and economics have turned them into a pale shadow of the fighting machine they were fifty years ago. There is not the need, now. The world is not on fire.
Fifty odd years ago, the world was a very different place. Canada, America and Great Britain still had freedom and democracy, but in Germany, a madman named Adolf Hitler thought otherwise. His goal was to sweep everything aside by armed might and terror, until he would be the conqueror of all. In Germany, Hitler was "Führer" and no opposition was tolerated. Those who opposed Hitler heard a knock on their door from the Gestapo, and too many millions perished. It was a time of heroes and martyrs. In Poland, Maximilian Kolbe took the place of another man, and died. The Roman Catholic Church has made him a saint. Dietrich Bonhoeffer also died. A German clergyman, he was one who could not, and did not remain silent in the face of Nazism. Offered an escape in America, he returned to Germany and was executed in a concentration camp shortly before he would have been freed by the advancing Allied armies.
There is a civic election here in a few weeks. The city is festooned with a rainbow of lawn signs, promoting different candidates. I'm urged to get on so-and-so's team, and support the cause. I have the freedom to vote as I wish, to worship as I wish and to live as I wish. If I choose, I can say "down with the government" without having some secret police come knock on my door.
Today, I will remember the millions who died, so I might live and vote in peace. I will remember the thousands of young men and women who stepped forward when their country called. This is only history to kids in school, now. It's not the in thing to remember those who fell. But it is the right thing.
Prayer: God, war is not Your will for humankind. You would rather your sons and daughters live in peace with each other. Let us give thanks for the freedoms we enjoy, which we all too often take for granted. May we remember, for more than just a moment, the millions who died that we might live in peace and freedom. Amen.