I had some feelings about Memorial Day this year, even as I BBQ’d with friends and enjoyed the May weather.
I was nine months pregnant with my first child when my Dad was deployed to the “Iraq War.” Thankfully, he came home, but many do not, and the conflict continues. Many soldiers come back to the U.S. forever changed, and over 500,000 Iraqi’s are dead.
I know and love too many recovering veterans to blindly swallow the honor and sacrifice sentiment that overshadows the everyday realities of war. I know too much about the economic motivations and underpinnings of our military industrial complex. And I belong to Jesus too much to think that he was being metaphorical about loving our enemies.
The sacrifice of U.S. service men and women is real. But what is it for? Who really benefits and who gains?
The U.S. is not so adept at admitting their war “mistakes,” especially in the moment. This week my Dad told me about his recent conversation with a woman who was a mortician in NYC during the Vietnam War. She described hundreds of bodies of U.S. soldiers snuck in to Ellis Island each night, unreported by the government. I grieved with my Dad as he wept at this memory. He wished that every politician would have to attend every funeral and Memorial Day service.
My goal in writing this post is not to argue or draw lines in the sand, but rather to express my grief and conviction that God is grieved by loss of life everywhere. Jesus is fighting the battle FOR everyone, not against. The battle is not for governments or economies; it is for hearts and minds and bodies to be restored, forever. Our Circle of Hope exists to help complete the sufferings of Jesus and continue his work of restoration in the world, through the power of the Spirit. We really are being restored and we are restoring, and it is wonderful. It is an abundant life we are all destined for, and I hate when evil steals it. May God strengthen us for the battle we are given, and comfort all those who mourn.