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  • Writer's pictureMonica Walton

Living What We Believe In


Pentecost Sunday & Memorial Day celebrate and honor people who changed the course of the human experience, and their impact continues to affect our lives.

It seemed so strange to me that these days fell on the same weekend, but then it began to make sense that they be intertwined. The Church and America both exist because people have fully lived what they believe in and they gave their very lives as an offering so that the Church and America can carry on.


War veterans speak about the vital role their faith played when they faced the enemy. Military Service involves people from various walks of life coming together as one unit, offering their lives for one Nation under God. Surely, none of them want to die in battle, but all take an oath to obediently support and defend the U.S.A. against all enemies. Their official promise ends with the words, "So help me God." They begin their service with faith in God. Death is a risk factor of the job, but they say YES out of love for our country and for all who dwell in this land. They do it for us, even though they do not know us.

I would imagine that everyone does indeed pray to God for protection when heading into battle. Their loved ones at home pray they will return safely from war. Many don't. The only way to get through times such as these is with an awareness and trust that God is present in all things -- even the ugliness of war.

Captain "Red" McDaniel suffered six years as a prisoner of war in the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" prison in Vietnam. Those American soldiers, as many others throughout history, were brutally tortured. McDaniel spoke what undoubtedly most who have seen combat learn from the experience. "People think courage is the absence of fear," he said. "But courage is the presence of faith."

Many service men and women are killed because they live what they believe in -- that all Americans should be safe and free from those who want to destroy our peace. They think we are worth the sacrifice.

 

Jesus spoke of the vital role our faith plays when we are in the face of the enemy.

Jesus was killed because He lived what He believed in -- that all humanity should be freed from sin and receive eternal salvation with God. He thinks we are worth the sacrifice.

Jesus said, "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." ~John 15:13

Scripture tells us that at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended on people from "every nation under heaven" -- people from various walks of life coming together to praise One God and hearing One voice. This was the birth of the Church, and all who believe may receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. After the Resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples to gift them the Holy Spirit and Peace for their journey. They were called to go out to the world and spread the Good News. The Father sent Jesus to teach this to the disciples, and the Father sent the disciples to share the gift of Peace and the Holy Spirit with others. The Father also sends us (yes -- you and me) to share the gift of Peace and the Holy Spirit with others. Most of the twelve apostles suffered brutal torture and were martyred for continuing the work of Jesus.

Many Christians have been killed because they lived what they believed in -- that Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior of the World, and the One we love and serve above all else. They think He is worth the sacrifice.

 

So I sit on my porch and ponder -- Do I live what I believe in? Would I sign a written agreement to be a Christian if it meant I must promise to die rather than not continue the work of Jesus? Would I be willing to die so that future generations have the freedom to be safe and free to worship God? I am most certain that chances are slim to none that I will be brutally tortured because I am a follower of Christ. So, it's perhaps a little easier to think my answer would be yes. I want it to be yes. I hope I would say yes. But, would I?


So I ponder some more and go a little deeper --

  • Did the men and women die in service to America so that we can be selfish and disrespectful to fellow Americans like we see in the world today? Or, did they offer their lives so that we can live freely, sharing peace and harmony with one another?

  • Did the men and women martyrs die in service to Jesus so that we can be indifferent or lax about our Faith? Or, did they offer their lives so that we can worship freely, sharing peace and love with one another?

  • Did Jesus die on the Cross so that we can acquire more things and care only about ourselves? Or, did He offer His life so that we can love and be loved fully, sharing His peace & love, and our time & resources with one another?

 

This week as we re-enter Ordinary Time, take notice of the people you encounter who live what they believe in by sacrificing something for the benefit of others. I think we are likely surrounded by more of these people doing such incredible things than we realize. They are featured less often in the news and in our conversations than those who work for their own benefit at the expense of others, so let's recognize and celebrate them.


What will it look like when the rest of us live what we believe in?


What can we "ordinary people" do each day to share peace, love, harmony, time, resources, and the Good News of Jesus Christ?


What will it look like if we ask the Lord what He wants us to do each day? The answer will probably be different for each of us.


 

Jesus, I believe in You. I desire to live what I believe in. Send me Your Holy Spirit that I may understand and do my part to bring the Good News to others, to share Your Love with others, to live in peace and harmony with others, to do more where needed and to have less when needed. God, if I am living as You have called me to live,

it will be worth the sacrifice. Amen.


 

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