Romans 5:8 - But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Unremembered, unloved, and unwanted.
That probably is a good description of Lawrence Keys.
It was not always that way. Once Uncle Sam had wanted Keys. For 20 months, from 1956-1957, he served his country as a private-first class. But that was a long time ago.
On November 16th, at the age of 78, Lawrence Keys' heart gave out and he died at Christus St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I would love to tell you a loving family was by his side during his last moments. But he had no family other than a distant cousin who had never heard of him. If it were true, I would be glad to tell you his last days were spent bidding farewell to a never-ending line of old friends and pals. Sadly, there were never any guests waiting to see Lawrence Keys.
After Lawrence Keys died his body was taken to the hospital morgue where it waited for someone to claim him. That first day nobody came. The first week, nobody showed. An entire month passed and the shell, which once had been Private First-Class Lawrence Keys, was still in the morgue: unremembered, unloved, and unwanted.
You see, someone did remember Keys. The Rivera Family Funeral Home got involved. In this case involved means:
1. They accepted his body.
2. Then they offered $6,000 so that Lawrence Keys might receive a full military funeral and burial at Santa Fe National Cemetery.
3. They extended invitations to firefighters, police officers, and veterans' support groups, asking them to attend the farewell for Keys.
The response to those invitations has been positive and even a general from the Army National Guard had promised to show up. It appears, because of some caring individuals, at the very end Lawrence Keys was no longer unremembered, unloved, and unwanted.
I hope you remember the story of Lawrence Keys, because it might have been your story.
You see there was a time when you, because of your many sins, might also have been unremembered, unloved, and unwanted. That might have been the case for all of us if the Triune God were not a gracious and merciful Divinity.
You see, in spite of our sins, the Lord continued to love us. Rather than seeing us be forgotten forever in the flames and fire of hell, He sent His Son into this world to save us. From birth to death, Jesus showed us that we were remembered, loved, and wanted.
The Redeemer's life and death leading to His glorious resurrection tell us that this is so.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, we cannot imagine the depth of Your love that reached out to us while we were sinners. May we give thanks for the Savior's sacrifice and lead lives that show we have not forgotten You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
The story upon which this Daily Devotion is based was written by Arden Dier for Newser on January 19, 2017. The website where the parent article can be found is: www.newser.com/story/237083/when-vets-body-went-unclaimed-strangers-stepped-in.html
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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