Dog Tag Day

Today was a very sobering, emotionally challenging day for me. I had my dog tags made, we got our dental xrays made, and we completed next of kin notification and benefits forms. But probably the most humbling experience was when I spent some lunch time walking through the Chaplain museum. To see the dedication of these true soldiers of God shook me. What right have I attempting to join the ranks of these who not only served God, but served wherever and whenever God called them? Standing there looking closely at the late Chaplain Watters collection – MOH recipient who so courageously served his soldiers under hostile Vietcong fire, I wept silently. I couldnt take my eyes off his burned up backpack, his melted Holy Water canteen, his burnt chalice, his scorched but sturdy cross, his charred prayer book, and his other destroyed ministerial equipment. You see, Chaplain Watters saved many lives before a bomb exploded and killed him and many others. That image will be chiseled in my heart and mind alot in the coming days. Also there is a life jacket given up by one of the Four Chaplains who linked arms and sank in the icy waters of the North Atlantic after being torpedoed by a German U-Boat. They gave their vests away when there was a shortage. This Chaplaincy business demands total committment. Total faith. Total courage. Total humility. But come to think of it, doesnt God want anyone who chooses to minister in His name to be as committed? We dont know where God will send us or what may come. And Jesus died for us. Flesh and blood died for us. Today I asked myself again, “how committed are you? Will you follow ANYWHERE God leads? Will you have the dedication and heart, and courage to serve these many Infantry who are training here, at Fort Jackson, who ARE AMERICA’S FRONT LINE?”. Lest I forget, these men and women I see do their job and do it well. This freedom we enjoy is very costly. Just as following Jesus is very costly. If we don’t get butterflies in our stomachs when considering the cost of following Jesus, then are we truly following? Or are we staying relatively comfortable? These Chaplains in this museum weren’t on simply a good moral or good deeds mission. They understood the risks, yet also saw the big picture. They knew what mattered in life. And so they trusted God to the end. Not for medals, not for rewards or fame, but because of love of service to God. I pray God gives me the courage to follow like these men. Every day at CH-BOLC is a blessing. A challenging blessing, yes, but a real blessing. Hooah!

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