"Clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don't let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires." (Romans 13:14)
"So put on the full armor of God." (Ephesians 6:13)
Today's is Veteran's Day. We recognize and honor those who have and are serving our country in the military. A number of people have asked if I would make available a link to a news story I used in the sermon three weeks ago about a boy whose dad died serving our country in Iraq. There's no better time to share that than today, and this story even gives a more recent follow up. (Click here and have a tissue handy!)
Of course, the reasons for our military presence around the world is not always easy to define, but on the whole, I believe those who serve our country do so out of a belief that our freedoms are worth defending, as well as the right for people in other lands who desire to be free and safe. Our soldiers risk their lives for such freedoms, freedoms like we exercised this week.
One of the ugliest election seasons is at last over, but the impact is not. Half our nation is pleased, half is hurting. Things were said or came out in this election season that do not represent our highest values. Some things done in the name of hard campaigning cannot be defended. But what we defend is not every aspect of the character of our leaders, for who among us can claim spotless character. What we defend is this process. We defend our right to express our voice and elect leaders, have a smooth transition of power, and at the end of the day promote and return to the values we are proud to have as Americans: protecting the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; believing that all people are created with inalienable rights; being a nation that is proud to say "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free;" and, yes, even protesting election outcomes we don't like.
So today, as people of faith who honor those who defend these values, let's do our part and stand up for the love, charity, and kindness our nation needs. Reactions since Tuesday are showing the fear some have, and the unfortunate baser elements in our society that have been triggered by this season. (The daughter of one of our members was verbally accosted in a foul and vulgar way in traffic recently because of her bumper sticker). We all will be in places where we might hear such things. With grace and firmness we can promote a better message.
I thought Butler University president, Jim Danko, had a wonderful response to the election you can read here. As I read his words about Butler values I thought we could have easily put "St. Luke's" in there. Standing up for human dignity, human rights, compassion, and simply making sure everyone has the same chance to succeed in life is worth fighting for.
No, we aren't all soldiers, but we are all in an army of sorts. We are part of the Church Militant. That's language occasionally used to summon Christians to action to live out and make visible and real the values of Jesus Christ in a world that gets deficient in grace, love and hope. Not all of us have worn a uniform to defend our country, but we are all called to "clothe ourselves in Christ," and "put on the full armor of God." So let's get marching.