Reading: 1 John 3:16-20

A new recruit went into training, hoping to become a marine. He was one of those young men who seem to be a bit out of step with the norm, and he easily became the subject of ridicule for those who enjoy picking on off-beat people. In a particular barracks to which this young marine was assigned, there was an extremely high level of meanness. The other young men did everything they could to make a joke of the new recruit and to humiliate him. One day someone came up with the bright idea that they could scare the living daylights out of this young marine by dropping a disarmed grenade on to the floor and pretending that it was about to go off. Everyone else knew about this and they were all ready to get a big laugh.

The hand grenade was thrown into the middle of the floor and the warning was yelled, “It’s a live grenade, it’s a live grenade! It’s about to explode!”

They fully expected that the young man would get hysterical and perhaps jump out the window. Instead, the young marine fell on the grenade, hugged it to his stomach, and yelled to the other men in the barracks, “Run for your lives! Run for your lives!”

The other marines froze in stillness and shame. They had totally misread this guy. They realised that the one they had ridiculed and scorned was the one ready to lay down his life for them.

And of course we have an example of that in our Christian religion in the person of Jesus.

In this season of Lent as we look ahead to Easter and the celebration of the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made, a sacrifice that led to the foundation of our Christian religion, we reflect on the sacrifices we might make for the benefit of others.

This is just what John is referring to when, as per our reading, he says, “We know what real love is because Christ gave up his life for us. And so we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.” We don’t have to necessarily die for others, but we are expected to make sacrifices for others.

I trust that this year we will be willing to make some small sacrifices to ensure other lives are enhanced, that we will respect the differences in others, that we will be sensitive to the needs and rights of others, that we will have the courage to stand up for what you know to be right and wrong.