November 11, 2023
“I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.” Ephesians 1:15–16
Originally called Armistice Day, Nov. 11 was set aside to honor veterans of World War I. In its official resolution, Congress sought to set aside time to “commemorate with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through goodwill and mutual understanding between nations … with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.”
Unfortunately, the guns of August 1914, which led the world into the chaos and devastation of World War I, were not silenced forever. To this day, America’s men and women have served in the Armed Forces and deployed around the world. This service has also impacted families as well.
Since the formation of our Armed Services, chaplains served alongside our servicemembers and their families. As people of the reformed tradition, chaplains sought to transform their communities through hope that is provided to us in abundance by our gracious covenant-keeping God.
This calling is more than a mere presence. It is an act of love that requires maintaining an active engagement with servicemembers, veterans and families throughout all stages of life. As shared by one of our chaplains:
“One day, I received a call from my command about a soldier who had posted an alarming and very concerning message on his social media platform. Since I lived the closest to him, I drove to his home. I knocked on the door and the soldier came out. We stood in his front yard and talked for over an hour. The soldier eventually agreed to go with me to the hospital. The psychiatrist told me they were concerned about him and would keep him at the hospital for further treatment. I count it a blessing that God gave me this opportunity to connect with a vulnerable human being and help him get on the path of healing.”
Chaplains provide vital spiritual support and life-sustaining pastoral care within the military, Veterans Affairs hospitals, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Currently, 120 PC(USA) pastors are called to serve as chaplains in the Veterans Administration, the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the military.
This calling is carried out in a variety of ministries:
- Providing religious support as a member of a VA care team or in the Intensive Care Unit
- Leading worship, reentry classes and counseling services in our federal prisons
- Counseling and celebrating with a Marine on his third anniversary of sobriety
- Teaching resiliency classes and leading weekly worship services for over 1,200 basic trainees at a basic training post
- Training and mentoring seminarians and pastors in Clinical Education Programs at VA Medical Centers
- Counseling a VA patient still dealing with the memory of liberating a concentration camp in WWII.
Please continue to pray for the long line of faithful followers who do more than remember the day as a federal holiday, but actively seek to provide peace, healing, understanding and restoration to our servicemembers, veterans and their families. Pray for those supporting agencies within their respective communities who seek to bring hope and healing to their lives. Pray for our chaplains and their families each day.
The Rev. Dennis E. Hysom, Executive Director of Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincies, and a retired Army Chaplain
Today’s Focus: Veteran’s Day
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Tina Rhudy, Assoc. Director, Building Services, Administrative Services Group (A Corp)
Bob and Kristi Rice, Mission Co-workers serving in South Sudan, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Let us pray
Loving God, you know how deep wounds go. You know that many of our veterans, families, caregivers and communities suffer and you feel that pain in their lives. You know the memories that haunt them and the scars that many of them continue to carry. O merciful Savior, bring healing to those veterans who still hurt. Please grant patience and wisdom to those around them who cannot understand but can sometimes help. Permit both physical and spiritual healing to wounds that remain. For this, we pray in your most holy name. Amen.
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