It seems like just yesterday I was looking at my bag of salt wondering if I would need any more to get through “the winter that would never end.”
When you think of the month of July, what comes to your mind? Family gatherings, ice cream, apple pie and fireworks? Right?
What comes to mind for me are two subjects that don’t really seem to go together but they should? They are faith and patriotism. Having served in the military with a tour in the Republic of South Vietnam, I know that you need both!
I was a product of the 60’s when it seemed like the only constant was change. The generation before us were very patriotic; some men would lie about their age so that they could go and serve – my generation went to Canada to escape the draft, the war and service to their country. When I returned from Vietnam, what I saw was young people burning the American flag, burning their draft cards and anti-war demonstrations.
During my time in Vietnam, I noticed that the attendance at chapel services was directly related to the number of missile attacks we experienced during the week. It is true “There are no atheists in fox holes.” Everyone seemed to have that “come to Jesus” moment! (missiles and bullets don’t care who they kill!)
Although not in the ministry then, I found myself talking to people about their faith. What did they believe… is there a God…? Who is Jesus to you? Very often they would go to chapel with me, but just as often they would go drinking to help them forget where they were. In the middle of a war zone, fighting people you had never heard of until the evening news and of course the draft board.
I had a friend, his name was Frick Findley who was from New York. He drank every day he was in-country, said he did not want to remember any of this year – many people felt that way – some “forgetting” with alcohol; others “forgetting” with drugs.
We fight wars in other countries so that we don’t have to fight in the good ole U.S.A. We fight for freedom – even the freedom to burn the flag! I don’t agree with burning the flag. I think it’s wrong! But freedom isn’t just for the people that agree with me but freedom should be for all! True patriots, not those people that attacked our capital, will fight for people of all races, genders and political parties, to be free, here and in other countries. Doing the right thing doesn’t have borders or boundaries.
Faith – I know who I believe in and when I lay my head down, whether here or in the Republic of South Vietnam, I know this is not my home, I’m just passing through!
Do you remember the children’s prayer we were taught! Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”
Faith is knowing that your eternal home has been assured when you know “blessed assurance, Jesus is Mine” and I am His!
Have a great rest of the summer, hope to see you at the church’s annual picnic in September. Love you in Jesus’ name.