I recently viewed a video on You tube ; the video opened with an older gentlemen turning on his car radio just as the radio announcer gave news of some teens being arrested for defacing a monument erected in tribute to soldiers who had given their lives in the line of duty. As the announcer finished the story, the older man s grandsons entered the car. Seeing his grandfather staring at the radio in dismay, one of the grandsons asked, Grandpa, is something wrong? The grandfather answered, Some people sure have short memories, and those who are too young to know need to be taught. Come on, I want to show you guys something. They drove to what appeared to have been an old movie theater where someone was putting up a marquee that read, Welcome Veterans.
Inside, the auditorium was sparsely occupied; there were older men, young men, women, and boys and girls intermingled and scattered about in groups of two or three. The older gentleman and his two young grandsons filed in and took their seats on an empty row about two thirds down toward the front. As they entered, the screen showed footage of the bombing of Pearl Harbor with a voice-over of FDR s speech informing America of how the United States had been suddenly and deliberately attacked. At first the man s two grandsons fiddled with their ipods and shared with each other what was on the small screens of their personal players, showing little or no attention to the presentation they were brought to see. But as the sights of planes, tanks, ships, and soldiers continued to flash across the big screen, the attention of first one and then the other was captivated and held in rapt.
Unexpectedly, after an American airplane is seen on the screen, there is a close-up of the grandfather, and he says, In the name of God and country, I learned to defy gravity. Then there are close-ups of others, and they speak: I lived in the belly of the beast, I faced the hearts of iron monsters, I became a worm in the mud...with dignity, with honor, for righteousness sake, for God and country. The camera is again on the grandfather; this time he looks at his grandsons and says, I fought for you. One by one the camera focuses on other vets who turn to their sons, daughters, grandsons, and granddaughters to say, I fought for you, I fought for you, I fought for you, I fought for you, I fought for you. Then the grandfather speaks again; this time he is looking straight into the camera—- at me, at you, and he says, I fought for you.
The video tugs at your emotions; you feel goose bumps and your eyes want to tear up; hopefully, it evokes gratitude for those who fought for us and who continue to fight for our political freedom. The video is effective because, suddenly, it is not just scenes of planes, ships, and soldiers, it s personal!
Why have I told you about this video? To promote patriotism? No. While I deem patriotism to be valuable and think we should appreciate the political freedoms we enjoy and be grateful for those who have fought to win and keep this freedom for us, I have a more noble reason. My purpose is to remind you how that over two thousand years ago Christ Jesus left the glories of heaven, took the form of a servant, humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross to give us an even greater freedom and the hope of a more glorious life — freedom from sin and eternal life (Philippians 2:6-8). Some people sure have short memories and those who are too young to know need to be taught.
We need also to make sure that we do not disdain the memorial of the Lord s death — the Lord s Supper (1Cor.11:23-29).
Do we need videos or movies depicting the events of the life of Jesus and His intense suffering and gruesome death to stir our emotions and bind us to Christ? No. The Word of God and the manner in which the gospel writers tell the story is sufficient. We need only to read the story, know the story, tell and retell the story as it is written. We need to know that the story is real, His love is real, and make it personal—- in our mind s ear hear Jesus say, I died for you! ... I died for you! ... I died for YOU!
Do you feel goose bumps? Do your eyes want to tear up? Are you grateful for His sacrifice for you? Are you anxious to partake of His Supper? Have you obeyed His command to believe and be baptized? (Mark 16:16). Jesus died for you; live for Him!