Manifesting God’s love in a troubled world
I drove to Cannon Beach, Oregon, for the Northwest Regional Seminar of the International Conference of Police Chaplains. I’ve been coming to these conferences, held during the second week of February, for the past sixteen years.
I am grateful to God for all the friendships I’ve formed with other chaplains during these years of service as a police and fire chaplain, and am privileged to count among my friends some of the finest people I have ever known. These are individuals who have dedicated their lives in compassionate service to others, touching lives during the most difficult of circumstances.
Chaplains minister to people whose lives have been turned upside down, with the loss of a child, the death of a spouse, the trauma of a fatal car accident, or a homicide. Chaplains serve as God’s presence on murder scenes, or house fires. They hold children whose parents have been killed, and comfort the old woman whose husband of sixty years has died. They serve as pastors to people who have never had a pastor. They are clergy who lend support to a police officer or medic who is traumatized by an incident that would have sent most people running in the other direction.
I, like other chaplains, have broken down in tears while recounting situations that would traumatize the toughest of soldiers. I’ve seen fellow chaplains being strong for their officers, while enduring unimaginable pain themselves. I’ve suffered, like other chaplains, over the death of police officers and firefighters who were my friends.
At the heart of chaplaincy is the love of Jesus Christ, and a compassionate heart that is formed by a relationship with this very Christ. The chaplain runs towards a bad situation, offering his prayers and his heart to those in need. The chaplain is one who is the presence of God in the midst of tragedy, making manifest Christ in the midst of horrendous moments in the life of those whom he is called to serve. He sits in for God during those moments when no words can be found to comfort someone experiencing great loss. The chaplain sacrifices his own comfort zone so that Christ may be made manifest in the most broken of moments.
Chaplaincy is a unique calling, one that takes special training and deep commitment. It is not for the faint hearted, but a vocation that is as challenging as it is satisfying. The chaplain is an instrument of reconciliation between God and the first responder, their department, the community, and the families and individuals affected by tragic events.
Please pray for all chaplains, be they in service as military chaplains, hospital or hospice chaplains, prison chaplains, or in ministry as police and fire chaplains.
With love in Christ,
Tuesday February 11, 2020 / January 29, 2020
Week of the Publican and the Pharisee. Tone one.
Fast-free Week. Fast-free
Translation of the relics of Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-bearer, bishop of Antioch (107).
New Hieromartyrs John and Leontius priests, Constantine deacon and with them 5 Martyrs (1920).
St. Laurence, recluse of the Kiev Caves and bishop of Turov (1194).
Sts. Gerasimus (1441), Pitirim (1455), and Jonah (1470), bishops of Perm.
Synaxis of All Saints of Komi.
Martyrs Romanus, James, Philotheus, Hyperechius, Abibus, Julian and Paregorius at Samosata (297)
Martyrs Silvanus, bishop of Emesa, Luke the Deacon, and Mocius(Mucius) the Reader (312).
Synaxis of All Saints of Yekaterinburg.
New Martyr Demetrius of Chios (1802) (Greek).
Venerable Aphrahates of Persia, monk (370).
St. Barsimaeus the Confessor, bishop of Edessa (2nd c.).
Martyrs Sarbelus and his sister Bebaia of Edessa (115) (Greek).
Venerable Sulpicius Severus, disciple of St. Martin of Tours (406) (Gaul).
Venerable Gildas the Wise, abbot of Rhuys, Brittany (ca. 570) (Celtic & British).
St. Ashot Kuropalates of Tao-Klardjeti (829) (Georgia).
St. Ignatius, bishop of Smolensk (1210).
Venerable Andrew (Rublev) of Russia, iconographer (1430).
The Scripture Readings
2 Peter 2:9-22
9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, 11 whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.
Depravity of False Teachers
12 But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, 13 and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, 14 having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. 15 They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.
17 These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
Deceptions of False Teachers
18 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of [h]corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
The Great Tribulation
14 “So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let him who is on the housetop not go down into the house, nor enter to take anything out of his house. 16 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 17 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 18 And pray that your flight may not be in winter. 19 For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.20 And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days.
21 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23 But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.