For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person -- though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die -- but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8
A little over a year ago Army Specialist Dennis P. Weichel, Jr. and his unit were in a convoy patrolling Laghman Province in eastern Afghanistan.
On the road ahead there were children -- children who were earning a few pennies by picking up spent brass shell casings. At the request of the soldiers the children all got out of the way -- all except one: a young boy. The boy ran back to pick up some casings that were in the path of a Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle (a heavily armored truck.)
To save the boy's life, Specialist Weichel moved quickly and lifted the lad out of the way of the truck. In doing so, Weichel himself was hit and later died of his injuries.
Now you should be aware Specialist Weichel had a lot to live for. Back home in Rhode Island, he had three children and a woman whom he loved. I wonder: did he have time to think about them? Is it possible they were his motivation to make the sacrifice he did?
Nobody will ever know.
On this Memorial Day all we can say is Specialist Weichel died for someone who was weak. I am proud to share that, over these last centuries, there have been many others who have served our country and their comrades with equal selflessness and bravery. Just like that little boy, we should always be indebted to such brave and giving hearts.
To give your life for another person ... Scripture rightly points out such an action calls for a special individual. To give your life for someone who is unappreciative and may even laugh at your death is extraordinary.
Still, that is the kind of person our Savior was. Rather than seeing us be steamrolled by death, He fulfilled God's Law, resisted the devil's temptation, and died the death we deserved. His was a job no one else would do; it was a job nobody else could do.
This is why, on this Memorial Day as we give thanks to the many who have died to keep freedom alive, it is right that we also praise the Savior for all He did to win our freedom and destroy the slavery of sin.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that while I was still a hateful sinner You came into this world to take my place. For your life, suffering, death and glorious resurrection, I give thanks. Now may Your gift impact me enough so I might freely reflect to others the love I have received. In Your Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries