Faces on Faith:
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
– John 15:12-13
If you are old enough you remember when Memorial Day used to be called Decoration Day. After the Civil War the graves of the fallen Union soldiers were decorated in remembrance of their sacrifice in the cause of freedom. Over the years the name changed, and as there were more and more wars so now we remembered the sacrifices of all those who died in the cause of freedom from Gettysburg to Iwo Jima to Baghdad. It is time not glorify war, but to remember those who laid down their lives for their friends. Ask any soldier, sailor or Marine and they will tell you that they are fighting for their friends, for their buddy next to them. For the one on the front lines it is always personal.
This past week in Portland Oregon a man with white supremacist connections murdered two people and injured another, after they tried to step between them and two women, one wearing a hijab on a commuter train. He had the unlikely name Christian. How ironic that his actions racist ranting and murderous actions were in polar opposition to the one who so loved the world that he gave his life.
I don’t know if the three men who were killed and injured were Christians or not and it doesn’t really matter, but they with their own bodies, acted out the words of Jesus which the Gospel of John records: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Taliesin Myraddin Namaskai-Meche, age 23, Daniel Best age 53 and Micah David-Cole Fletcher age 21 are flesh and blood witnesses to the words of Jesus. Daniel Best was an Army veteran and he acted as a good soldier would act. Taliesin and Micah were so much younger, one a recent college graduate and the other still a student and yet they acted as any good human being would act.
As Taliesin lay dying he said to a woman comforting him, “Tell everyone on this train I love them.”
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
-The Rev. Dr. John N. Cedarleaf; Captiva Chapel by the Sea