The Spirit and a Tribute

I love the United States military. I worked my first campaign at age four, donning a Jack Kemp t-shirt and a winsome smile. I was the girl in college who had American flags and pictures of Ronald Reagan on my walls.
So when Colonel Williamson, the LCMS Chief Mission Officer, suggested that The Lutheran Witness feature an article about how to share the Gospel with those Armed Forces members returning from war, I said, “Not just one article. The whole issue!”

Marine Week, St. Louis, 2011

 A colleague and I flew down to San Antonio, Texas, and met up with the Rev. Michael Schuermann, who served as photographer and his lovely wife, Katie Schuermann, who was a reporter of the most inquisitive and sensitive kind. We baked in the Texas heat, met men and women who serve our country in ways we could hardly process and sat at the feet of the chaplains who cared for them. Emotionally, it was exhausting. Theologically, it was profound. Fundamentally, it changed all of our lives.

Seeing that August Lutheran Witness—bearing the stories of the men and women we’d met, hearing from the chaplains who fight their own battles but never fail to pronounce God’s Words of forgiveness and peace—arrive in the mail from the printer was one of my memorable moments. Getting a first-hand look at how the Lord cares for and about His people in uniform was humbling. It changed everything. It made me proud to be a Lutheran, proud to be an American, proud that my church has men whose vocation is specifically to care for those who care for them. It turned everything on its end.

That’s why, when I received in the mail today, a flag flown over Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for 9 minutes and 11 seconds on Oct. 31, 2012, Reformation Day, I cried. For the flag, for Chaplain Daniel Gard, for the LCMS, and for our Lord, who truly does all things well, thank you.

“This is to certify that the accompanying flag of the United States of America is presented to The Lutheran Witness. Let it be known that this flag was flown proudly over Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on October 31st, 2012 at 2300 hours for 9 minutes and 11 seconds. This flag is presented to you in the spirit of patriotism and as a tribute to those who lost their lives in terrorist acts on the United States of America and to those who continue to fight in the Global War on Terrorism.”

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One thought on “The Spirit and a Tribute

  1. I thank God for military, too! As a fellow Lutheran, I have to comment on the connections. 🙂 I found your blog through Jan’s, reading about your Texas trip. I grew up in San Antonio. My father’s still a pastor there (Mark Barz), and we have many military members, thanks to our 5 bases in town. I learned so much from them. Now, I live in Fort Wayne, where Dan Gard is a member of our church, and I teach his son. What a small Lutheran world! Now, I need to catch up on that issue of the Lutheran Witness. How did I miss that one?

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