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“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: 

a time to be born and a time to die, 
a time to plant and a time to uproot, 
a time to kill and a time to heal, 
a time to tear down and a time to build, 
a time to weep and a time to laugh, 
a time to mourn and a time to dance, 
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, 
a time to embrace and a time to refrain, 
a time to search and a time to give up, 
a time to keep and a time to throw away, 
a time to tear and a time to mend, 
a time to be silent and a time to speak, 
a time to love and a time to hate, 
a time for war and a time for peace. 

What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil-this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him. 

Whatever is has already been, 
and what will be has been before; 
and God will call the past to account.” 

~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

~ John 15:13

Notes: In honour of Remembrance Day next Sunday, November 11th, today’s Scripture post is dedicated to the brave men and women who fought so hard for our freedom and way of life. The header image is a photo I took in March of the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Canada. 

People today have forgotten that freedom is not free, and that they are not owed the luxuries they currently enjoy. Those luxuries were bought and paid for with the blood of many. So before we go crying about injustice, intolerance and oppression in 2018, may we please take a moment this Sunday to stop and reflect on what the world was verging on when men like my grandfather (pictured above) packed up and headed off to Europe at 16, 17 years old, not knowing if they would ever see home again.

My grandfather, Jack, was a Gunner in the Signal Corp during WWII. The cap he’s wearing in the picture is the same cap that’s hanging on the frame. I never met him, so it’s something that I cherish. He witnessed many unspeakable atrocities during the war, and it changed him forever. Something I have learned is that the people who remember war fondly, fancying themselves “heroes”, are the ones who never actually saw or experienced anything. Jack had no happy memories of war, and in fact, he couldn’t bear to even speak of his experience at all. 

As the passage in Ecclesiastes says, there is a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace; a time to be silent and a time to speak. And today I want to speak to the memory of all those who came before us, who sacrificed so that you and I wouldn’t have to. Do not let their sacrifice be in vain. Appreciate what you have, protect it, and get over this idea that you are “owed” anything. 

What you give is what you get, so don’t give anything that you wouldn’t appreciate coming back to you. Do unto others what you would have done unto you, and love your neighbour as yourself. This is what God commands. The sacrifice He wants isn’t the blood of sheep and goats. The sacrifice God wants is SELF. Our pride, our ego, our unwillingness to do what’s right because it isn’t convenient for us. 

It wasn’t “convenient” for Jesus to die on the cross. It wasn’t “convenient” for my grandfather, my great uncle Harold Ross, and literally hundreds of thousands of others to go to war to make OUR freedoms possible.

Love is not always convenient. 

But God’s Spirit is Love, and it was His love for us that drove Him to the cross. 

Let’s never forget that.