Strong spirits: the greatest gift


Dirk Willems saves the life of a guard who fell through the ice while pursuing him. Willems was later executed for his faith in 1569. Engraving by Jan Luykens, Martyrs Mirror, 1660

Memorial Day was created to remind us of those who gave their lives in defense of our country - something very sobering, and also wonderful.

Today, I invite you to consider all those who have given their lives in a different cause - the cause of Christ and his kingdom. Since the earliest days of the Church, and to this very day, men and women have died for what they believe in- faithful to the very end- dying so that others might also know this good news.

Even more significant, Jesus himself died for us - once and for all, the holy for the sinful - so that we need not be separated any longer from God. He did this not because we deserved it, but because he loves us.

Jesus said that the greatest love is shown when a person gives up his life for his friends (John 15:13). So let us remember those who have given their lives for us. Let's remember Jesus who gave his life for all. And let's endeavor to give up our lives in service to God and to others. Every single day.


Besides serving as pastor at Caledonia Congregational Church, Gary Schwerin is the Spiritual Development Minister for the YMCA of the Rock River Valley and Executive Director of Bridge Ministries of Rockford. Prior to launching Bridge Ministries, Gary spent many years in leadership with Young Life. His columns appear here every Sunday - to see them all, subscribe to our daily email. The story of Dirk Willems, depicted in the featured image, can be read in the Martyrs Mirror, published in 1660.

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