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Culpeper Times • May 2-8, 2019

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CHURCH

We shall never forget FAITH IN THE COMMUNITY Pastor Brad Hales

This month, I will have lived in Culpeper, Virginia for the last 14 years. I have had the honor to pastor a church, set on boards, give battlefield tours, pray at several community events and meet some

wonderful people. This is a great place to live. But one opportunity which I’ve been provided which gives me the most honor and humility is when I’m invited to provide over funerals at the National Cemetery for veterans and their families. Whether it was for the World War II veteran who landed on the beaches of Normandy during D-Day or the Korean/Vietnam War veteran who fought in the jungles of South East Asia, having the privilege to say goodbye to these hero’s is an unbelievable experience. Simply, by they’re donning the uniform of this country and sacrificing for our freedom, that’s why should always remember and never forget. The reason why we recognize Memorial Day. Yes, Memorial Day. The day which is far more than picnics, barbeques, vacations, and the opening of swimming pools. It’s the day as a nation when we pay our upmost respect to the brave for allowing us to continue to live in liberty rather than bondage. We pay homage to those who defended the Constitution of the United States of America with their sweat and blood. In John 15:13 Jesus says, “Greater love has no one then this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” There is no one greater then those who are willing to serve their country. But it has not been an easy road for many veterans. Along with coming home with PTSD, dismemberment and mental health concerns which drives some to take their lives, this service has come at a great cost. That’s what we experienced with my great Uncle Jack. He was in the armored tank division under General Patten in WWII. When he came back from the war he began to isolate himself, distancing from the family and literally became a recluse. Attempts to reach out to him were futile.

Several years ago, my dad received a call from a rental manager telling him that they had found Jack’s dead body in his apartment. He had been dead several days, and no one knew. Just imagine. As so many men and women have responded to the call of this nation in both times of war and peace, it was to preserve the freedom of the republic. The freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, the freedom of assembly, the freedom of the press, the freedom to vote, the freedom to bear arms, and the list goes on. So, since this freedom has been brought for us at a price, what is our responsibility to preserve it? In I Peter 2:16 it is written, “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover up for evil but living as servants of God.” Living free has some different dimensions. First, Jesus Christ of Nazareth who shed blood, died on the cross and rose from the dead has freed us from the chains of sin. Second, living free means taking personal responsibility for our actions. Unfortunately, some believe that freedom represents doing whatever they want, focusing on self, not interested what others have to say. But that is not the essence of real liberty. Freedom means caring for yourself, your family, your faith, and your community. And thirdly, living free means taking care of your neighbor. Last month I drove out to Ohio to see my mom. Once there, the phone rang, and it was her neighbor Kathy wondering what unknown car was in my mom’s drive. Ever since my dad’s death Kathy and her husband Dave have watched over my mom, spent time with her when she was ill, cooked her meals and plowed out her snow, covered drive. They see it as their responsibility to care for their aging neighbor. Memorial Day is not just another day on our over scheduled calendars. It’s a day of memory, a day to give thanks for all those who were willing to give their lives, so we could have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For those who selflessly gave for their love of country, we will always remember and never forget. Brad Hales is the pastor of Reformation Lutheran Church in

Culpeper. Along with being ordained for over 24 years, he is also the Director of Domestic Mission for the

North American Lutheran Church. You can contact Pastor Hales at bhales@ thenalc.org.

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The Culpeper Times | May 2-8, 2019  

'It's a Career' | PDM Motorworks hosts grand opening | Little Hope Notes spreads kindness | Mock trial teaches EVHS students about justice s...

The Culpeper Times | May 2-8, 2019  

'It's a Career' | PDM Motorworks hosts grand opening | Little Hope Notes spreads kindness | Mock trial teaches EVHS students about justice s...