June 10, 2015
Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my Gospel. 2 Timothy 2:8
There are 8,300 American graves in the 65-acre military cemetery in Margraten, a city in the Netherlands.
You should know a bit about this special community. For example, you ought to know that during the war, the town's mayor invited company commanders to sleep at his house. The common Joe escaped the ravages of bad weather, and German missiles, by staying in the schools. From the day of liberation until the end of the war, the families of Margraten opened their homes to the GIs who were enjoying some R and R.
But the war has been over for 70 years. No longer do death-filled trucks come rumbling into town; no longer is it necessary for the community to dig rows of new graves. World War II is history, and many people and communities have long since moved on, but not the people of Margraten.
That community continues to remember. That's why every one of those graves has been adopted by a local family. Today, there are some graves which are being visited and remembered by the third generation of a Margraten family. More than that, there is a waiting list of people ready and willing to adopt a GI's grave and treat it as they would a plot for one of their own family members.
And if you are wondering why are the people of Margraten doing this, they will say, "After four dark years of occupation, we were free from the Nazis, and we could go back to our lives and enjoy all the freedoms that we used to. We have to thank the American allies for that." The grave-adoption program, an idea proposed by a local pastor and a city clerk, was born out of this feeling of gratitude. The people of Margraten felt they could do no less.
How sad that we have so few places like Margraten in this world. How distressing it is that so many people can't remember those who gave their lives to win their freedom.
That would be as true for spiritual freedom as it is for earthly freedom.
You see, outside the walls of Jerusalem there is another grave. This grave is different than those at Margraten. This grave is unique because no body is buried there. The sepulcher of Jesus is empty because -- three days after He had finished His work which defeated sin, Satan and temptation -- Jesus conquered death and came out of that grave. Now all who believe on Him as their Redeemer are forgiven and granted a freedom that will last for the rest of eternity.
In other words, Jesus gave His life for our salvation, and He should be remembered.
Every man, woman and child should eagerly pay their respects to the single Individual who gave His life so they might have life. They should remember and never forget. And it is our job to help them recall the wonderful thing the Savior has done.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant that we may do our best to help people remember and worship the Savior who sacrificed His life for theirs. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries