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Framing Today's Issues for Contemporary Biblical Christians

MEMORIAL DAY
May 31, 2010
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May we NEVER FORGET!
A Special Message from Pastor Joe Fuiten
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Listen: "Letters from War" by Mark Schultz
Mark Schultz Letters from War
Today we remember over a million Americans who have given their lives in the service of this country in all our wars including the Revolutionary War.  Our most costly war in terms of the number killed was the Civil War. 

During wartime, w
e have had over 43 millions Americans serve. Some of the statistics break down as follows:
 
U.S. Military serving during war...43,185,893
Battle Deaths................................653,708
Other Deaths (In theater).................14,560
Other Deaths in Service .................525,930
Non-mortal woundings.................1,447,281
Living War Veterans ..................17,835,000
All Living Veterans ....................23,698,000
     
There are an enormous number of people to whom we owe a great deal. May we never forget what they have done! Of course, when we see the large numbers we might be inclined to forget the individuals and their personal stories.

The last time I was in Washington D.C., I went to visit the various war memorials including Arlington National Cemetery. I was very moved by my visit to the Vietnam War Memorial. I felt such a profound sense of grief. I went to see the memorial and to find the name of my boyhood friend, Glenn Simmons. I found it and made an etching as many do at that memorial. I don't know why the Vietnam Memorial is so moving except for the reason that every one of the over 58,098 names are listed there. It isn't just a number. There are actual names of every one.

Every one of those soldiers died one at a time. Those were individual men and women, mostly very young, who wanted to live as much as you do. They wanted to be married and to raise a family. They had their hopes, dreams, interests, and loves.

I guarantee you, as much as they were willing to serve, most of them, they really didn't want to be there. They would have been happier to have known times of peace rather than war.  In the end, pretty much everybody hates war, particularly those who have fought in it.


The problem comes when there are people who either want us dead or want us to be their servants. If not that, then they want to be able to do whatever they want without anyone restricting them. It is why Plato observed that "order must be imposed." It doesn't just happen. Pascal said that justice without force is a myth.

History has demonstrated that those who will not defend themselves will be overrun by those willing to attack. St. Augustine said, "War and conquest are a sad necessity in the eyes of men of principle, yet it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men."

I know that you and I respect the sacrifice that people have made in the past, but what does God think of all this? You get a pretty good clue when you read the Bible.

2 Samuel 23 begins with these words:"These are the last words of David (verse 2) The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; his word was on my tongue. The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth."
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Dr. Joseph B. Fuiten is the senior pastor of Cedar Park Church in Bothell, Washington, and he is the former president of Washington Evangelicals for Responsible Government and the Positive Christian Agenda. Currently, Pastor Fuiten is a founding member of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, an associate organization of Focus on the Family.