Evening honors

I stood still and silent in formation as a blazing orange sun slowly sat on what was turning into a very cool evening. It was fitting. For the night before, the full moon had just risen and was hanging low over the horizon as I helped carry the body of a fallen soldier to the waiting ambulance as he began his journey home. The moon had hung suspended over the tail of another medivac, its rotors still turning. With solemn dignity Air Force personnel carried this brother in arms. Later that evening I gathered with them and other medical staff during a lull. Together we prayed for the family of this young man and for comfort for our own grief. All this passed through my mind as we stood in formation to render honors to a man who had paid the supreme price to defend his nation and the liberty we enjoy. They endured the cold for over an hour standing in formation. Nor was this a mandatory formation. It doesn�t have to be. We were all honored to stand in tribute and remembrance. As the sky passed through the various shades of yellow, red, and orange finally fading into the darkness of night, I reflected on how amazing the folks are that I serve with here. They are asked to do an incredible job and they get it done. Prices are paid and they all know the price could be very high. But this is an all volunteer force. I know many of my Air Force brothers and sisters who asked to come here. Many would not have been deployed because of the nature of their service, but they sought it out. Our people do what they do out of love: love for their families, their country, and for each other. Every day people put it on the line for others. Sometimes it has consequences. But consequences or not, they are all worthy of honor and remembrance.

Tonight, as I listened to a brother chaplain lead prayer in an evening service, I heard the heavy throbbing of chopper blades, not medivacs this time, drown out his voice just for a moment. We are in a war zone. I thought to myself, what more timely place is there for ministry? My text this morning was Romans 8 with an emphasis on the message that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ � not even death itself. To know that in the end evil does not win � God wins � transforms everything. I can say with St. Paul that I do not consider the present sufferings, as great as they can be and mine are minor compared to what some people have given up and endured, to be comparable to the glory that is coming. I groan with the rest of creation for the final redemption and restoration of all things, where evil is no more, war is unheard of, and my job and the jobs of my brothers in arms are obsolete. If it happened tomorrow, I don�t think any of us would complain. We fight this war and do what must be done, but we pray for peace and we stand on the line that we might know peace and our loved ones be safe.