Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13

Each summer in Cape May, NJ, there is a lowering of the flag ceremony that takes place at dusk. Vacationers in Cape May are familiar with the tradition. It is especially geared toward teaching children about the flag, patriotism, and honor. Typically military veterans are asked to participate in the ceremony. Recently I watched this conducted on a lovely summer evening. At the point when the flag was lowered and was being folded, a young child assisting the procedures, asked one of the military men, “How come you cannot let the flag touch the ground?” and he replied, “It is a matter of respect..”

Flag Day comes and goes each June, yet many of us have an American flag flying outside of our homes all year long. I do. It is a symbol of patriotism and remembrance that signifies freedoms we hold dear; freedoms that have cost human life. Right now we have military stationed in different parts of the globe, particularly in the Middle East, defending freedom and allowing those of us at home to go forth in our sacred liberty.

A matter of respect is why the flag is honored. It is a symbol of respect we uphold for those who fought for us—and fight for us—near and far. Freedom is costly, and it is not maintained without certain costs. There are those who lay down their lives to defend this nation. There are those who grieve because of loved ones who have died in battle. There are those who pine for dads and moms far away who are not there to see firsthand prom dresses, graduations, and little league games. Those who serve our nation by wearing a military uniform and giving of their years of service, pay with their heart. So do those they love.

Jesus came into this wounded and needful world to be the ultimate sacrifice that saves us from our sins, and from an eternity separated from Him. Jesus’ death on Calvary cost Him everything so that you and I would have spiritual freedom and everlasting freedom in the sacred Home of Heaven. Jesus is our risen proof of giving all that He had and giving up His life for others. Sometimes our military, law enforcement, firefighters, and EMT’s have to give up their lives. As the flag is lowered in Cape May, at military bases, and every funeral, we remember their sacrifices. The United States came into existence with sacrifices, and requires still more to maintain the nation. We look at our flag and remember all it represents. We look at the Cross and remember Jesus, the Saviour who died so that we could live—forevermore.

Lord, Thank You for the men and women everywhere who defend the United States and the freedoms that we have. Jesus, You gave Your all so that we could be with You forever. Thank You, Jesus, for all that you did. Your love for us is clear and cherished. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.