The following is an excerpt from “Do Not Grow Weary in Prayer and Fasting,” written faithfully each week for nearly 10 years by Jerry Hale, Spiritual Emphasis Committee Chair for the Growing and Building Campaign.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
That was the verse I used as part of the invocation at a recent Veterans Day Commemoration at Valley Forge National Historic Park. Knowing that a contingent of Gold Star Mothers would likely be in the audience, I wanted to ensure there was some word of comfort from the Lord to them as a part of my remarks.
Just prior to the start of the event I was alerted to the fact that a Coast Guard Gold Star Mother would be there, the mother of an air crewman lost in the mid-air collision between CG HC-130 1705 and Vengeance 38, a Marine AH-1W Cobra in October of 2009 off the coast of California.
At the close of the ceremony while a band played a Service Medley, I noted a woman standing during the playing of “Semper Paratus.” While the audience was disbanding, she came up to me and thanked me for my remarks. I responded by asking if her son was in the Coast Guard. “Yes,” she replied. “He was aboard the 1705.” I hugged her and did my best to express my condolences and offered that the Coast Guard didn’t experience many accidents, but when they did everyone knew about it.
As she started to leave, I gave her my card. She looked at it and said, “Oh, you were in the Coast Guard, no wonder you seem to know so much about the accident.” Apparently, in her grief she had not noticed my blue uniform with the CG shield and my white hat. However, she did appreciate the words of comfort that I had endeavored to convey from God’s word during the ceremony.
I was pleased to accept the invitation from the National Park Service to participate in this annual event. Veterans Day gatherings are always quite emotional, as they should be as we remember the sacrifices of those who have served in the Armed Forces of the our country, especially those who gave the last full measure of devotion. We who have served certainly appreciate the support of the nation in these days. It is somewhat odd to be honored by businesses like Home Depot with their daily 10% discount for veterans. This year I even stopped off at Applebee’s for a large plate of shrimp and to observe a good number of Vietnam-era veterans enjoying the hospitality that eluded them in their day.
That said, we don’t serve for the appreciation of our fellow citizens; we serve because we consider our profession a calling from God to serve Him as we serve others. It is an honor and privilege to serve in the name of Jesus.
“Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’” (Matthew 20:25-28).
Serving others in the name of Jesus is a hallmark of Officers’ Christian Fellowship. Our efforts on behalf of the Growing and Building Campaign are designed to greater enhance our ability to serve others through our Conference Center Ministry.