This is the message I delivered as part of Memorial Day services at cemeteries in Natoma and Paradise.
Service to country can take many different forms. One can serve the county simply by being a good citizen; one can serve by holding public office; or one can serve the county by being a member of the military.
No matter what form that service takes however, it is not always easy; it is not always richly rewarded; nor is it always free from harm and danger. But service does not find its origin in the desired reward, but rather in the heart of the one who serves.
Today, we take a moment too remember those who served this country through military service, and who have died in that service.
Some of those whom we remember today died on battlefields, either here or abroad. They knew when they enlisted that was a possibility, sometimes maybe even a likelihood; yet they signed up anyway, knowing that their country needed their services.
Service does not place limitations on itself; it is not completed only when it is convenient for the one who serves; nor is it carried out only at peace time. Service is most needed when the potential for harm and danger are at their highest.
Sacrifice and service go hand and hand. Always have, always will.
For those who served in the military and thankfully returned home, their sacrifice and service was different, but no less appreciated. And they found themselves stepping into a new area of service: pointing us to days like today, when we can remember the service and sacrifice of all those who have served in the military. For some forms of service never truly end, they change and are redefined, but they never truly end.
The example for this unending service is none other than Jesus Christ; who Himself left the right hand of His Father and came to earth to do battle against the devil on our behalf; destroying sin and death, and granting to us eternal life.
But the service of Christ does not stop at the cross or even at the tomb; it continues daily as He carries us through this world and prepares us for the next.
Service to neighbor does not end; it changes forms, but it does not end. Today, we remember those who served in uniform; protecting those in danger, preserving peace for others, and being a shining light to all, that service and sacrifice always go together.