by Reverend (Major) Gavin Robertson
For the last 23 years it has been my honour to serve in the Canadian Forces as a Reserve Force Chaplain.
Over the years I have had the privilege to speak with many veterans — those who fought and came home forever changed and affected by what they did, saw and experienced.
In those conversations, what often becomes abundantly clear is the truth that “Freedom is not Free.”
It wasn’t then and it isn’t now.
Our freedom was paid for in full by those who took up the torch and took a stand against the evil that was threatening the world.
It was paid for on the seas, and in the skies!
It was paid for on the battle fields of the Somme, Passchendaele, and Vimy Ridge; at Dieppe, North Africa and Normandy; in Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan — in countless places where those standing for freedom took a stand against those who would take it away.
It was paid for by individuals, men and women, who did and experienced horrendous things — things that scarred the flesh, bruised the mind and damaged the soul!
It was paid for by families who lost loved ones or had them returned home forever damaged, changed, or injured.
While this freedom we enjoy today may be something we tend to take for granted — it did not come easy, it did not come free — it came at great expense … it cost a great deal.
Which is why I think it is appropriate (still) for we as a people and a country to take some time and remember.
Remembering and giving thanks to God for those who took up the cause, and stood their ground, and paid the price for this precious thing we call ‘freedom’.
In Scripture we find these words of Jesus: “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
Jesus came to show us the way of freedom — freedom from sin, freedom from death — freedom to love, give and serve; freedom to live in a way that blesses our neighbour and supports the widow, the orphan, and those down-trodden by life.
Jesus also died on a cross so that through His death, we might have life!
This Remembrance day, I pray that we might all take the opportunity to stop, reflect and give thanks for the freedoms we are able to enjoy in life; and as we do, to pledge ourselves to draw closer to God and hold to Christ’s teachings, and to live in a way that is reflective of the freedom he offers; because (as scripture tells us) “if [Jesus] sets [us] free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
Rev. (Major) Gavin Robertson
First Presbyterian Church