I’ve never been in the military; in fact, I’m a conscientious objector. But I grew up near the Naval War College in Newport, RI, and my friends were the children of soldiers; I pastor a church a few miles from Fort Lee, and welcome in soldiers coming here to learn. And on days like today, my mind rolls through the list of friends and family who serve and have served. And I think about how blessed we are to live in a country defended by people who follow God with all their hearts and choose to put their lives on the line to defend the freedoms we take for granted.
Like Veterans Day sales.
Like firing off our opinions in the paper, on the radio, and on the internet.
Like marrying who we want to, voting for who we want to, and living where we want to.
Like worshipping where we want to worship, or not worshipping at all.
I think about our grandfathers and grandmothers on both sides of my family. I think about people like my first youth group leader, Kelly Brown, and my colleagues in ministry, AJ Gunther, Charlie Johnson, and Lem Pearsall. I think about my “kids” (and their spouses) who have grown up from being my youth or college students who now serve like Chris Allen, Robert Crawford, Chris Rossi, Jeremy Stout. I think about the soldiers-in-training who have come through my church that I’ve pastored, like Bill Battles, Derek Brodt, Nate Herndon, Mike Humphrey, Brian Normand, Chelsea Prahl, and Bambi Sisco. It seems like such a small thing, but to name them, I remember.
And as you and I move quickly through another Veterans Day, I raise my prayers heavenward, thanking God for these men and women, and for many others. And I pray to the great God of the universe that the kingdom of heaven would come and God’s will would be done, and that peace in the Middle East, peace at home, peace between families, and nations, and cultures would come.
On earth as it is in heaven.
So today, I ask that if you read this, that you would stop and pray for a veteran, serving now or in the past, and that if you encounter one, that you would thank them. And never stop praying for peace.