Thursday, June 21, 2007

Support our troops -- News from Chaplain Tim Fary

I know that the issue of the war is a matter of division of the house in the PCUSA. I don't intend to talk about the war. Rather, I'd like to remind us of the men and women God has raised up to minister to the troops we've sent to fight this war -- our military chaplains.

Three of my best friends from seminary have gone off to be military chaplains. One of them, Tim Fary, serves in the Army and is currently on his third deployment to Iraq. I dropped him a line a while back asking how we could encourage him. He told me he was working to build a DVD and video game library for the troops under his care (did I mention they're in the desert, with little stress relief?). So, the good people of Covenant-First started bringing me DVDs, and I'd box them and send them. I just put over 80 in the mail yesterday -- since March of this year, Covenant-First folks have donated somewhere around 150 DVDS to encourage our troops in the field.

I recently found out that Tim has been sharing some reflections over on Common Grounds Online. In this first post, he talks about his ministry to soldiers in the Detention Facility (yes, sometime soldiers go to the military equivalent of jail -- and he gets to minister to them, too)

One Sunday there was a new soldier there. He was in the first cell. He was young, good-looking, well groomed, and had great military bearing. He looked like the poster child for mid-western America. Every time I entered the tent he would call the tent to attention. He was always neat, always shaven, and punctuated all of his sentences with, “Sir.” I was very impressed with him, grew to like him, and finally gave in to the temptation to ask what are you in for? Then, as casually as you might say, “Shooting spitballs at the First Sergeant,” he looks me in the eye and says, “Murder, Sir.” I resisted the urge to react. I simply said, “Oh, I see.” I later learned that there was more than one count of murder, and that the Army held that it was premeditated and first degree.

The thing about that experience that has always struck me is how at peace the young man seemed to be with his sin. (I don’t know his heart.) When ever I think of him, I ask myself what sins have I called a truce with? What are the areas of my sanctification that I’ve waved the white flag, given up on, and made peace?

Bang. Zoom. Right at me, too. Nathan the prophet points at my heart and says "you are the man." Tim has that kind of ministry that can wrench right to the hearts of people. How about this post about a typical Lord's day round of worship services that he conducts:
Then for the last time that day, I don my Body Armor, my Kevlar Helmet,
grab my guitar and head for the Bradley that will take me back to where my day
started. Yesterday, I remember thinking to my self, “I remember when preaching
one civilian service wore me out, and those folk weren’t even

Pastors here in the States -- our burden is easy and our yokes are light....

Pray for and tangibly work to encourage our military chaplains.

Soli Deo Gloria