Posts Tagged ‘sacrifice’

In Easter We Can Know That God Loves Us With His Life

April 4, 2010

What is the message of Easter?  It is that Jesus of Nazareth conquered death.  It is that “He is risen, just as He said” (Matthew 28:6).  And in rising bodily from the grave, it is that Jesus was vindicated in everything He said about Himself.  The One who said, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25) put to the lie the Pharisee’s mockery that “He saved others, but He can’t save Himself” (Matthew 27:42).  In rising from the dead, Jesus demonstrated that He is indeed “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

Over the centuries, Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike have provided many arguments for the existence of God.  But the Bible never makes any such attempt.  God’s existence is as much assumed as is our existence; and to question one’s existence would be as silly as to question one’s own existence.  Thus, the first words of the Bible are, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).  We are told, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God'” (Psalm 14:1).  Paul says in Romans:

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20).

And James tells us, “You believe that there is one God.  Good!  Even the demons believe that – and shudder” (James 2:19).

There is clearly a great deal more to the Christian faith than merely believing in the existence of God.

On my view, in agreement with St. Paul above, I believe that the existence of God has been made plain.  It is no amazing thing to believe in God; and as Alvin Plantinga has pointed out, such belief is properly basic.

Believing in God is not the “hard part” about being a Christian.  You want to know what is?  Believing that God – the creator of space and time, energy and matter – loves me and cares about meTHAT’S the hard part.

And that’s exactly the part that Easter morning speaks to.

Take a look at Eli Weisel’s Night, written from the vantage point of a Holocaust death camp survivor:

The first night in camp turned Elie’s life completely. It was the first time he learned how people could be so cruel to the others, it was the night that turned his dream to dust, and it was the night he lost the faith in God. From that day on, although many people believed the concentration camp is where the God tests them, judges their characters, and proves that God loved them, Elie doubted the God’s absolute justice. As time went by, Elie became accustomed to all the horrors he had experienced. Unlike the beginning of the book, which he take care the neighbors with all he can do for them, now he cared only the food but no one else. He was numb to the burning body, to the beating and to the hard works. But one day, the last hope was torn away from Elie when he had to witness the hanging of a small boy. “For more than half an hour he stayed there, struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony under our eyes.” (62) A man behind Elie asked, “Where is God? Where is He?….Where is God now?”  A voice inside Elie answered, “Where is He? Here He is-He is hanging here on this gallows…” (62) At this moment, Elie’s world was collapsed, and the God was murdered.

In this account, God hanging on the gallows represents the death of God, in the sense of extinction.  But there is another side to this story.  Because God Himself – in the form of the Son of God who had assumed a human nature so that He could live a perfect human life and die a substitutionary death for the sins of mankind – actually DID hang on a cross.

Our suffering certainly doesn’t prove the death of God when God Himself has entered into our suffering.  Rather, God suffered so that He could ultimately put an end to suffering.

God is not dead.  He did die for us.  But death could not keep Him down.  He rose from the grave.  He conquered death.  And He is now gloriously alive forevermore as the first fruits of resurrection life that one day every believer will experience.

Easter assures us that God did not create planet earth to serve as His fishbowl.  He is not looking dispassionately down at earth.  In the Incarnation of the Son of God, God demonstrated that He not only cared about His creation, but was willing to go to the farthest possible lengths to save His wayward creation and win it back to Himself.

The Incarnation of God is the greatest love story ever told.  The Son of God – God Himself in every way – chose to temporarily set aside key attributes of deity and assume a human nature.  God created man in His own image (Genesis 1:26-27) so that one day He could become a man.

And so God came into the world, born of a humble virgin into a carpenter’s family.  Perfect God became a perfect man; Jesus obeyed His Father perfectly, and never sinned even once, so that He could be “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  Jesus said of His own purpose, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

Jesus said, “No one can take my life from me.  I sacrifice it voluntarily.  For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded” (John 10:18, NLT).  And Jesus allowed His life to become a sacrifice in such a terrible, humiliating, painful manner that no decent human being could have been able to even look upon His death, let alone endured it.  He allowed men who were literally filled with demons to unleash their rabid hatred upon Him.  And He demonstrated His compassion, love, and mercy even for those who were torturing Him when He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

Before He was crucified, Jesus was flogged in a manner that literally stripped Him to the bone, and ripped out chunks of flesh and muscle.  His body was very likely already dying.  A jagged crown of thorns was shoved onto His head as a form of further mockery.  And then He was forced to carry His own instrument of execution as He stumbled agonizingly along the Via Dolorosa (Latin for “the way of grief”) while jeering crowds mocked Him.

“And they crucified Him” (Mark 15:24).

Death by crucifixion was the most extreme Roman penalty.  Crucifixion is without question the most painful and humiliating form of official death penalty ever devised.  The word “excruciating” was Latin, and means, “out of the cross.”  The victim was displayed naked, and his slow death by suffering available for all to see as a warning to any who would dare to threaten the supremacy of Rome.

Here is a medical account of the suffering inflicted by crucifixion:

Jesus is quickly thrown backward with His shoulders against the wood.  The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist.  He drives a heavy, square, wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood.  Quickly, he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flexibility and movement.  The patibulum is then lifted in place at the top of the stipes and the titulus reading “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” is nailed in place.

The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees moderately flexed.  The victim is now crucified.  As He slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating, fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain – the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves.  As He pushes Himself upward to avoid this wrenching torment, He places His full weight on the nail through His feet.  Again there is the searing agony of the the tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet.

At this point, another phenomenon occurs.  As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain.  With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward.  Hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed and the intercostal muscles are unable to act.  Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled.  Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath.  Finally carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside.  Spasmodically, He is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen.

Jesus’ suffering was not merely physical.  His emotional and spiritual suffering were as unparalleled in human history as was his bodily suffering.  The Son of God had known eternal loving relationship with the Father.  But on the cross, Christ became a sin offering – And in His agony His Father was forced to turn away from Him.  Galatians 3:13 tells us, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

Jesus suffered as no human being has ever suffered.  And yet Jesus wasn’t a helpless victim.  We have heard Jesus say prior to His crucifixion that He would sacrifice His life voluntarily (John 10:18).  As the soldiers, priests, and mob came to arrest Him at Gethsemane, Jesus said to His disciples who tried to protect Him, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:52).  A legion was 6,000, meaning 72,000 angels would have come to save the Son of God at His bidding.

For the record, ONE angel put one hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrian warriors to death in one night (2 Kings 19:35).

So why on earth would Jesus have allowed Himself to be so horribly tortured and killed when He could have stopped it?

Because of His love for me.  And for you.

We talk about love all the time.  But we can’t even begin to fathom the depths of Christ’s love for us.

The last recorded word from Jesus on the cross was “Tetelestai.”  It is usually translated, “It is finished.”  But there is so much that we can learn from how that word was used in Roman culture at the time of Christ.  “Tetelestai” was used to stamp “paid” upon a receipt, and it was also the stamp put on a criminal’s charges once he had completed his sentence.  Paid in full.

In His substitutionary death, Christ paid the price for our sins.  All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).  But Christ paid the price for us in full.

As I said earlier, “the hard part” of Christianity is believing the incredible concept that the Creator of the entire universe actually loves and cares about me.  There’s your real miracle.  It’s believing that no matter what my temporary situation might look like, I’m NOT alone and unloved; rather, I am loved by a God who literally loves Me with His life!  But there is more.  There is more than we could ever imagine.

What is the meaning of Easter?

It is summed up in Philippians 2:5-11:

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

And because Christ was raised from the dead to glory, so also will those who love Him.

1 Corinthians 15: 50-57:

I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

What is the meaning of Easter?  On Easter morning, after loving humanity with His life, Christ was raised from the dead.  The Resurrection and the Life conquered death once and for all.  And He paid for our sins so that we could share eternal life in heaven with God. That’s good news indeed to anyone who wants to go to heaven rather than hell, but who isn’t as righteous and sinless and perfect as God.

Before He was taken away to be beaten, flogged and crucified, Christ assured His first followers:

“In my Father’s house are many rooms;
if it were not so, I would have told you.
I am going there to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back and take you to be with me
that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2-3).

And Jesus’ bodily resurrection from the dead is all I need to know to believe that a beautiful room in the very house of the Father awaits me.  What incomprehensible joy awaits those who love Christ!

Christ loved us with His life (past tense); He now loves us with eternal life in Him and with Him.

And so every Easter, Christians from all over the world joyfully greet one another and say, “He is risen!”  “He is risen indeed!”

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Team Obama Fails To Get Olympics, Blames Bush

October 4, 2009

I get the sense that the Obama administration has no idea how to do anything, and no longer even bothers to try to address issues facing the country.  Rather, they spend the entirety of every meeting trying to figure out how they can blame the increasing failures plaguing the administration (and in turn, the nation) on one George W. Bush.

Bush is to Obama what Emmanuel Goldstein was to Big Brother.  Bush Is The One Who Is To Receive All Blame.

You’d think Obama wouldn’t want to exhaust this well (there’s going to be a LOT more bad economic news, after all, to go with the increasingly bad news in Afghanistan and Iran).  But, nope.  He’s gonna to keep running to Bush derangement like a baby runs to mama every single time.

Did anti-American resentments play role in Chicago’s bid losing?

BY ABDON M. PALLASCH Political Reporter

Some Chicago officials say anti-American resentments likely played a role in Chicago’s Olympic bid dying in the first round today.

President Obama could not undo in one year the resentment against America that President Bush and others built up for decades before, they said.

“There must be” resentment against America, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said, near the stage where he had hoped to give a victory speech in Daley Plaza. “The way we [refused to sign] the Kyoto Treaty, we mislead the world into Iraq. The world had a very bad taste in its mouth about us. But there was such a turnaround after last November. The world now feels better about America and about Americans. That’s why I thought the president’s going was the deal-maker.”

State Rep. Susana Mendoza (D-Chicago) said she saw first hand the resentment against America five years ago when she was in Rio de Janeiro to speak as a surrogate for then-presidential candidate John Kerry.

“This vote today was without a doubt ridiculously political and mean-spirited,” Mendoza said. “I travel a lot. I was literally nearly killed in Rio three years ago when I was there representing the U.S. Government. I thought we had really turned a corner with the election of President Obama. People are so much more welcoming of Americans now. But this isn’t the people of those countries. This is the leaders still living with an outdated impression of Americans.”

Just gag me with a spoon so I can hurl already.

As HotAir put it, “Copenhagen just a little too far away to have dead people cast a few votes for Chicago…”  And too far away for ACORN shenanigans to bail them out, too.

There were only four contestants, and Obama couldn’t even win the Bronze?  The Olympic Committee heard Obama’s spiel, and awarded him with Last Place.  Or as presidential historian Stephen Hess put it, “I think to be eliminated in the first round is very embarrassing, to put it mildly.”

Unless you can blame Emmanuel Goldstein for it, it sure is.

The article goes on to later quote Robert Gibbs:

Presidential press secretary Robert Gibbs rejected the notion that the vote was influenced by the United States’ standing around the world.

And, of course, Gibbs doesn’t HAVE to go out and show the White House’s sour grapes.  He – along with Obama – have a ton of leftists and lackeys to do the White House’s bidding for them.

It’s funny that the same media that was quite literally stupefied that The One couldn’t win the Olympic games (youtube) –

– was able to recover so immediately as to point out that Obama never really had a chance given that the world still hates that devil Bush.  The New York Daily News wrote:

Chicago was never going to get the Olympics. We know that now, and probably should have known it a week ago. Maybe the world doesn’t hate us as much as it did one year ago, but the International Olympic Committee certainly does.

And if that line doesn’t work, they still have the “a racist world wants Obama to fail” angle to pursue.

George Bush wasn’t going to get any excuses from the mainstream media unless his people went out and MADE the excuse.  And when they did offer an a justifying narrative, it usually got instantaneously dismissed by a media that couldn’t wait to poke every hole they could find in the Bush account.  When it comes to Obama, though every failure immediately has as many media narratives as will be necessary to explain away that failure.  Their very favorite one can be summed up in two words: blame Bush.

We find that – even with identical unemployment situations – the media treated Ronald Reagan and their beloved Barack Obama very differently.  Reagan received 91% coverage, and a steady diet of blame for the high unemployment figures, whereas Obama The Beloved has received only 7% negative coverage for the same figures.  This whopping disparity is due to two phenomena:

1) The mainstream media is every bit as biased toward the left as Pravda used to be biased toward the Communist Party.

2) Reagan didn’t spend all of his time bitching and whining about how he had inherited every possible scintilla of negative developments on his disastrous predecessor Jimmy Carter.  Rather, he manned-up and solved the problems facing the country.

I don’t think that Obama has so much as a molecule of that “spirit of manning-up” in him.  Rather, he is a demagogue, from the alpha to the omega. He’s the kind of man who demonized George Bush or Hillary Clinton for pursuing the very same policies that he himself is now pursuing; and he’s the kind of man who said he wouldn’t raise our taxes, and then weaseled around by pretending that his health care tax wasn’t in fact a tax.

Harry Truman had his famous sign that said, “The buck stops here.”  Like the bust of great WWII leader Winston Churchill, Obama threw that notion out.  Obama has a very different mindset from either of those great leaders.  As far as Obama is concerned, the buck stops at Bush — and it won’t stop anywhere else, until something happens that makes him look good.

Let’s face facts: Obama’s decision to go to Denmark to pitch for his profiteering and slum-owning Chicago pals was stupid.  He made the Olympics all about himself just by going, and then made incredibly narcissistic pitches to the Olympic committee.  And if the speeches hadn’t already filled the nearest barf buckets, Michele wailed that their luxury travel to luxury accommodations in Denmark was just “such a sacrifice.” The Drudge Report probably expressed it best: “The Ego Has Landed.”

G.O.P. leader Michael Steele said Obama should stay home and take care of pressing business such as health care, high unemployment, and Afghanistan rather than run off to Europe to pitch Chicago.  The Obama White House responded by demagoguing Steele, and accusing him of rooting for Brazil instead of America.  Well, not it’s time to get a demagoguery pay back: not only did Obama abandon American troops in Afghanistan and unemployed workers in America to run off to Europe to beg for the games so he could “wrap up his second term as president by opening the 2016 Olympic Games in Chicago.” Because the whole damn planet revolves around him, doesn’t it?  And then The Most Popular President In The History Of The World couldn’t even get that rather lame job done.

Hey, Gibbs, maybe Steele was actually rooting for American’s rather than Obama’s future prestige.  You might tell your boss to do the same.

Barack Obama argued that the Olympics could help America repair its image – because he himself is so profoundly un-American that he believes it ever needed to be “repaired” in the first place.

‘If you want to get that taxpayer money back, buy a GM product’

June 1, 2009

Heard that little slogan over the radio today.  Didn’t catch who said it, as I’d just turned the radio on.  But from the tone of the interview, it either came from a government-type or a union-type who favored the bailout-laden bankruptcy.

I immediately asked myself, “I wonder how Ford feels about that reasoning?”

Here’s another slogan for you: “Buy your car from Government Motors so Ford can enjoy going bankrupt, too.”

Obama says his auto strategy is to “level the playing field.”  What could be more “level” than the entire industry bankrupt and under government thralldom?

How would you like it if one of your primary competitors in business had been nationalized by the government, which has already pumped $50 billion into your competitor (with Canada pumping in another $10 billion), and which now had a 60% (70% counting Canada) ownership stake in your competition’s future success.

Mind you, if you’re a GM shareholder, you’re probably not real happy either.  You just got wiped out so that the UAW could get a 17.5% ownership stake.

Now, on the bright side for Ford, both Chrysler and GM will now be compelled to make pathetic little “Obamamobiles,” while Ford still has the freedom to continue building the cars people actually want.  That should help Ford continue to continue to gain in market share – at least until Obama artificially increases the price of gasoline to try to force us all into his putt-putting Obamamobiles.

What is truly sad is that, had GM simply filed for bankruptcy protection when it first became obvious that it didn’t have the wherewithal to meet its obligations, it would have been able to enter into a government-free structured re-organization.  Instead, George Bush punted the company to the Obama administration.  And then Barack Obama caught it, and began sprinting down the field with it – in the wrong direction.

The reason Obama pumped all this taxpayer money into GM and Chrysler was so he could control the bankruptcy outcome.  Obama now gets to reward his union base even as he imposes his radical leftwing environmental agenda on two of America’s largest manufacturers.  Which will in turn create a precedent to demand even more control from more manufacturers whether they needed bailouts or not.

Once the liberal political class gets the taste for using American industrial financial capital as a slush fund to purchase political power and advantage, it will never give it up until all the meat has been devoured.

Someone has to sacrifice to pay for that.

Obama said:

It’s “a sacrifice you may not have chose to make, but a sacrifice you are nevertheless called to make so that your children and all of our children can grow up in an America that still makes things, that still builds cars, that still strives for a better future.”

The only problem  with that is that the man who is calling upon Americans to sacrifice for all our children is the very same guy who stole our children’s money in the first place.  Obama has been engaging in generational theft since the day he took the oath of office – which includes the oath he took as a state senator as part of the corrupt Chicago political machine.

And by no means is that sacrificing over yet.

You might look at the fact that GM just lost its spot on the Dow Jones industrial average which it had held since 1925 and say, “Thank God I didn’t buy any stock in GM.”

But you DID buy stock in GM.  And you’re going to be buying a lot more before it’s all said and done.

GM says it owes $172.8 billion, with $82.3 billion in assets.  That means, on top of the extra $30 billion Obama is making taxpayers fork over right now, we’re going to be on the hook for more than $60 billion more down the road.

That is an awful lot of taxpayer sacrificing so that Obama and his liberal lackeys can maintain control over their new political slush fund.

Is this what Americans want?  Not according to Rasmussen, it isn’t:

Only 21% of voters nationwide support a plan for the government to bail out General Motors as part of a structured bankruptcy plan to keep the troubled auto giant in business.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 67% are opposed to a plan that would provide GM with $50 billion in funding and give the government a 70% ownership interest in the company.

Even when presented with the stark choice between providing government funding or letting GM go out of business, only 32% of voters support the bailout
. Most voters (56%) say it would be better to let GM go out of business.

As on many issues, there is a huge gap between the views of the Political Class and the rest of the nation. By a two-to-one margin, the Political Class says it is better to provide the bailout funding than to let GM fail.

The people don’t matter any more.  And what is ironic is that we voted not to matter.  We the Sheeple voted to allow ourselves to be rushed down the roadway to Marxism or fascism.

We learn – from the Russian source Pravda, no less – that:

It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American decent into Marxism is happening with breathtaking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people. […]

Those lessons were taken and used to properly prepare the American populace for the surrender of their freedoms and souls, to the whims of their elites and betters. […]

The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been a record setting, not just in America’s short history but in the world. If this keeps up for more then another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Wiemar Republic and at worst Zimbabwe. […]

The proud American will go down into his slavery without a fight, beating his chest and proclaiming to the world, how free he really is. The world will only snicker.

If you want to enjoy the full flavor of having a Russian who has learned from his own history that what we are doing will lead to our doom – and who is gleefully relishing the prospect of the United States plunging off the same socialist cliff his country plunged down – read the full article.

And what Obama is doing to Government Motors and the auto industry he wants to do to the entire nation.

You say you’re not going to buy an Obamamobile?  By the year 2016 he has ensured that you won’t have any choice: his cafe standards will guarantee that every single car sold in the United States is an Obamamobile.

You’re also going to have Obamacare for your health care system and Obamapower for your energy.

The “new GM” represents the death of America.  The symbol of American prestige, economic power, and military supremacy has bit the dust.  It continues on only as a Marxist mockery of its former glory.  In that sense, it is rather like the crappy cars of recent times that were badged with the names and logos of the fabulous muscle cars of the past by some cynical marketing department.

If I may end by paraphrasing the final stanza of T.S. Elliot’s The Hollow Men:

This is the way America ends
This is the way America ends
This is the way America ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

President Bush Honors Fallen SEAL With Medal of Honor

April 8, 2008

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/04/20080408-3.html

President Bush noticeably teared up as he honored Petty Officer Michael Monsoor for sacrificing his life for his Teammates. At one point he clearly could not speak. Not nearly as much of a “warmonger” as he’s frequently credited with being, I suppose.

Master of Arms Second Class Michael Monsoor was providing rear security for two snipers on a rooftop when an insurgent’s grenade was tossed at them. The grenade struck Monsoor in the chest and rolled toward his Teammates. Monsoor screamed “Grenade!” and threw himself on the explosive, sacrificing himself. He alone had a clear path of escape; he chose to save his teammates at the cost of his own life.

As President Bush said, “On Saint Michael’s Day — September 29, 2006 — Michael Monsoor would make the ultimate sacrifice. Mike and two teammates had taken position on the outcropping of a rooftop when an insurgent grenade bounced off Mike’s chest and landed on the roof. Mike had a clear chance to escape, but he realized that the other two SEALs did not. In that terrible moment, he had two options — to save himself, or to save his friends. For Mike, this was no choice at all. He threw himself onto the grenade, and absorbed the blast with his body. One of the survivors puts it this way: “Mikey looked death in the face that day and said, ‘You cannot take my brothers. I will go in their stead.'”

The words from Jesus in John 15:13 come to mind. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”

President Bush’s words are far better than any I can offer. He continued:

“Perhaps the greatest tribute to Mike’s life is the way different service members all across the world responded to his death. Army soldiers in Ramadi hosted a memorial service for the valiant man who had fought beside them. Iraqi Army scouts — whom Mike helped train — lowered their flag, and sent it to his parents. Nearly every SEAL on the West Coast turned out for Mike’s funeral in California. As the SEALs filed past the casket, they removed their golden tridents from their uniforms, pressed them onto the walls of the coffin. The procession went on nearly half an hour. And when it was all over, the simple wooden coffin had become a gold-plated memorial to a hero who will never be forgotten.

For his valor, Michael Monsoor becomes the fourth Medal of Honor recipient in the war on terror. Like the three men who came before him, Mike left us far too early. But time will not diminish his legacy. We see his legacy in the SEALs whose lives he saved. We see his legacy in the city of Ramadi, which has gone from one of the most dangerous places in Iraq to one of the most safest. We see his legacy in the family that stands before us filled with grief, but also with everlasting pride.

Mr. and Mrs. Monsoor: America owes you a debt that can never be repaid. This nation will always cherish the memory of your son. We will not let his life go in vain. And this nation will always honor the sacrifice he made. May God comfort you. May God bless America.”

President Abraham Lincoln’s Nov 21, 1864 letter to a mother who lost five sons fighting for the Union are worthy of mention here.

“I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts, that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should
attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your
bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom. Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

Abraham Lincoln

Master At Arms Second Class Michael A. Monsoor, today your country honors your life and your sacrifice for laying your own life upon that hallowed alter. May your family and your Teammates overcome their grief at your loss and cherish your memory and your example. May all of us in some small way become better people, more willing to think of others more than we think of ourselves, because of what you did that day on 29 Sep 2006.

And we honor our Navy SEALs and all of our magnificent warriors in the combat zones, who sacrifice themselves for us every single day by volunteering to serve in a dirty, difficult, and dangerous environment. May your sacrifices ultimately be rewarded with a stronger America and a better world.