Today, I’m reflecting on the fact that it is Pearl Harbor Day: the day in which American Soil was attacked, bombed by a fleet of planes from the Japanese Empire, unprovoked, with the hopes of crippling our Pacific fleet. Thousands died and were wounded (some bodies, still, have not been recovered), and much of the Pacific fleet lay burning and useless at the end of the day. Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed that this attack was “a day that will live in infamy.” April 18, 1995, the Federal Building was bombed in Oklahoma City, where hundreds lost their lives. I’ve walked the grounds, and see the pictures of those who’ve lost their lives, notes, fresh from family members who still grieve posted on the fences. We said we wouldn’t forget. On September 11, 2001, three planes attacked federal buildings, with a fourth crashing down in a field, having been thwarted by the passengers who gave their lives. Thousands died. We claimed we would never forget. I lived through the last two, albeit on different sides of the country, but I remember them vividly. But, like December 7, 1941, it fades into distant memory and history for so many of us.
In America, we have a problem with forgetting infamous days, don’t we? We get so relaxed and comfortable, forgetting because we’re not under constant fear of attack by an enemy combatant, we get so caught up in living our own lives, that we tend to let things fade over time, and take for granted that these events really happened, especially if we were not personally effected or involved. In the same way, we Christians forget another infamous day, quite often, because we know about the man on the cross, but we get comfortable in grace, and forget the cost of our freedom.
Loved ones, we should live every moment of every day in memorial of what Christ did: how He was lied about, his face struck and his beard plucked out, how he was beaten to a bloody pulp, made to carry a heavy beam until the strength left him, and how he was nailed to said beam. Of all the Sacrifices made in Jerusalem, this was the most inhumane. The Bulls and Lambs and Rams and Doves were quick, whereas Christ’s excruciating pain was prolonged for hours. Yet He did this for us, for love, to give us the freedom, should we surrender to Him, from the burdens of our sins. We should not forget infamous days, but remember and learn from them, never taking for granted the cost of living in freedom and security. Most importantly of all, we should never forget what Christ did so that we may have freedom, forever, in Him.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.