This Sunday our church will observe two special days. The first is the observance of Veterans Day. Since the close World War I the United States has reserved November 11 as a day to acknowledge the efforts of those striving on our behalf to secure peace for our country. We are so grateful for all those who have willfully and voluntarily chosen to serve in the military and have willingly sacrificed their time, their physical well-being and even their lives to secure the freedoms we have today. We are so appreciative of those of an earlier generation engaging in battle and those in more recent days continuing the fight for democracy and liberty across the globe. Whether it is in active duty or in the reserves, or in times of war or national peace, we all express our thanks to those who, when called to represent our country and our way of life, answered the call and served faithfully. We observe this national holiday with pride for those who gave of themselves for our benefit – our veterans – and for their families.
This Sunday, the second Sunday of November, has also been set apart as the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. It is a day for the global community of Christian faith to remember in prayer those who are also willing to sacrifice liberty and life to enjoy the freedoms we often take for granted. Those in countries hostile to the gospel routinely face harassment from authorities and family members, risk the confiscation of personal property and biblical materials, and are subjected to physical harm and sometimes even imprisonment for their public profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We are humbled by those in other regions of the world who choose to gather publicly in environments oppressive to evangelism, willfully sacrificing all they have to serve the God of creation.
This Sunday, we have so much to be thankful for – especially those who are willing to give even their lives for the things we take for granted. May God mercifully watch over our veterans and our siblings-in-chains.