Today on Good Friday, we think about the cross and the sacrifice paid for our sins; the amazing love that took our place and the grace we have been given. That kind of sacrifice is almost impossible to imagine. But we see a small glimpse of that love every day in the firefighters and policemen who risk their lives for strangers. We see it in the heroism of our men and women in uniform, who sacrifice their todays for our tomorrows.
I was reminded of that sacrifice as the week began, when Sergeant Dennis Weichel, 29, was laid to rest in Providence, Rhode Island. Sgt. Weichel gave his life to save an Afghan boy who ran in front of a 16-ton armored fighting vehicle. Weichel threw the boy to safety, but was himself hit. Sergeant Dennis Weichel was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for his heroism and is survived by his wife and three children. Sergeant Weichel's sacrifice reminds us that every life is precious, each person made in the image of our Creator.
As a child, when I read the Easter story, there was a part of me that wanted a different ending. If only He had come down from the Cross and destroyed His enemies -- that would have demonstrated His power. That is what I thought then. Of course, now I know how wrong that thought was.
Christ had to die so that we might have everlasting life. His sacrifice on the cross saved all who believe in Him. Others, however, follow a god who demands that they seek their own death and the deaths of others to achieve salvation. What a contrast!
Ultimately, it is not the birth of a man that Christians celebrate. Nor do we gather on Easter morning to remember a martyr. We have confidence because of Christ's resurrection as the living Son of God. If Christ had not risen from the grave and ascended into Heaven, He would have been forgotten as a common criminal whose birthday would have no significance.
Thank God for the cross and the empty tomb! Carol and I send our love to you and yours. This weekend, may each of you find a remembrance of the peace that surpasses all understanding.
He is risen! He is risen indeed!