September 11, 2011. That is the date of my US Army Reserve orders for today, as I begin two weeks annual training. 10 years ago to this day, I was also called on duty, September 11, 2001. So on this Lord’s day, as we all reflect about the meaning of this day in America, I have to end my reflection, pack up and head out. Yet the date on the orders causes me to pause. I ask myself, “who is worthy for such an incredible honor as ministering the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the finest soldiers in the world?” I serve the U.S. Armed Services only by God’s grace. What an honor. As I begin this time of annual training, on 9/11/11, I therefore dedicate myself anew Pro Deo et Patria, for God and country, and to the outstanding soldiers, Marines, airmen, sailors, guardsmen, and intelligence services, and their families, who gave so much and who give so much every day to defend the Constitution of the United States of America.
For this preacher to serve the Lord as a United States Army Reserve Chaplain is an undeserved honor, with unsurpassed blessings. “Thank you” to Reformed Theological Seminary Board of Trustees for allowing me to serve in this way. Thanks to CH (BG) Doug Lee (USAR-R), our endorsing agent, and the Presbyterian and Reformed Joint Commission on military ministry; and the Tennessee Valley Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America for credentialing me to serve. To my wife: Thank you, Honey, I salute you and thank you for allowing me to go from you and our boy to follow this call, for more than twenty years now, for our God and our nation. Your sacrifice – like all military families — has been the greater sacrifice.
Ordinarily going on annual training (always a blessing) is not as big a deal as it seems to me today. I normally don’t write blogs and get (this) emotional about serving. Today is different.
So, to God be the glory. It’s a great day to be a chaplain in the US Army Reserve on active duty — on 09/11—then and now.
- “It’s a Growing Time” – Resting in God before Running in Ministry: A Convocation Message for the US Army Chaplain Center and School, Fort Jackson, SC (michaelmilton.org)
- West Point chaplains feel ‘sense of privilege’ in ministering to cadets (catholicnews.com)
- Preparing Clergy for War: Army Chaplains Train for Combat Zones (frstephensmuts.wordpress.com)
- A History of Presbyterians in America (thirdmill.org)
- My Portion Forever (thirdmill.org)
- Grace in the Trenches (thirdmill.org)
- Slide Show: 9/11 in pictures: A world changed forever (marketwatch.com)
- Lives Lost in 9/11 Honored Around the World (foxnews.com)
- Happy Birthday US Chaplain Corps! (waronterrornews.typepad.com)
- May We be a Place of Praise: Welcome & Welcome Back to Seminary (michaelmilton.org)
- A Seminary Student, Now an Army Mom Reflects on 9/11 (offthebase.wordpress.com)
- Military Chaplins Mull End of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (foxnews.com)