The theme of our Remembrance Day Chapel this year was sacrifice. I wrote a few thoughts on the subject that I would like to share:
God set the example: Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them (Gen. 3:21). An animal, probably two since there were two tunics made, had to be killed to make the tunics. A life was required and blood had to be shed so that the ‘nakedness’ of humanity could be covered.
Abel was the first human to follow the example that God set: Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering (Gen. 4:4). Abel learned that blood needed to be shed in order to be made right with God; this required an animal sacrifice. By offering a blood sacrifice, Abel recognized that the ‘wages of sin is death’ (Rom. 6:23).
The first description of sacrifice includes love, a father, a son, and a substitute: Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a [sacrifice] burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you…Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.” (Gen. 22:1-2, 13). This, of course, is a foreshadowing of the day when the Father, who loved His only Son, allowed His Son to be sacrificed on Mount Moriah (now called Calvary) in our stead.
A sacrifice carries with it the idea of a substitute: He shall take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering. But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness (Lev. 16:7-10). The scapegoat took on the sin of the nation and was then sent out into the wilderness to die. This reminds us of the service men (and women) who were sent out to fight on the battlefields (also to die?) for us.
Finally, being willing to be a sacrifice is the greatest form of love we can display: Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends (John 15:13). And this is how we arrive at Remembrance Day. We remember those who were willing to lay down their lives for love of country and love of their brothers (and sisters, later) in arms. Our soldiers were willing to sacrifice themselves so that we might have freedom (life): thank you!
-from those of us who benefit from your sacrifice without having to pay the price ourselves.