At the end of this week in which post-election emotion roiled our country, there was special poignancy in pausing to honor our veterans on Friday. It was humbling to shut out the discord of public discourse and to focus on the selfless sacrifice of those who have served for our country and those who have loved and supported them as they did.

My father, a career naval officer who also became a consecrated lay assistant, approached his service to God in the same way in which he approached his service to our country: He had pledged to do whatever was required of him and he did it without hesitation, because he knew his actions benefitted the greater good. Whether he was in his military uniform or in his robes, he was humble, direct, and committed. He stood on the bridge of a ship and sat at the bedside of the dying with the same focus. He was motivated by a fierce dedication to doing what needed to be done. He never sought glory for himself; he sought freedom and comfort for those he protected. It was an honor and blessing to learn from him and those like him, in the Navy and in the church.

We are blessed in this congregation by veterans of the armed forces, and we owe them special thanks this weekend. We are also blessed by current members of God’s army. Every week, they accomplish acts of dedication and service you may not even notice, because they are done quietly and humbly. We owe them thanks, as well. And we owe it to them to serve alongside.

May we be inspired by the example of those who are willing to risk all in defense of freedom. May we be emboldened to step out in faith and join the fight to advance the Kingdom of God and to provide for His children.

“Lest, our feet stray from the places, our God,

where we met Thee,

Lest, our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world,

we forget Thee,

Shadowed beneath Thy hand, may we forever stand,

True to our God, true to our native land.”

 James Weldon Johnson, 1899