Message from Rev. Carmen
|Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on November 9, 2022 at 11:40 AM|
Tomorrow, our country observes Veteran’s Day. In recognition of the national holiday, this Sunday, November 13, we will pray the Collect for Heroic Service and the Collect for those in the Armed Forces from the Book of Common Prayer, in honor of all veterans. At our 10:30 a.m. service, we will also sing Hymn 579, Almighty Father, Strong to Save which uses the tune of the Navy Hymn, but also includes verses asking for God’s protection of the other branches of the military as well.
I give thanks for all the veterans associated with St. Alban’s, both living and deceased. Their heroism inspires and humbles me. I also give thanks for my father, Mark Germino, a Navy veteran who served in the Vietnam War, and who always reads these reflections. (Hi, Dad!)
Earlier this year, we were honored to host a forum with The Rev. Canon Leslie Nuñez Steffensen, who serves on the Presiding Bishop’s staff as the Canon for Armed Forces and Federal Ministries in the Episcopal Church. She spoke about her work supporting Episcopal chaplains serving in the military and in VA hospitals. These chaplains have a particularly difficult and important role as pastors, counselors, and confidantes for both veterans and those in active duty. Canon Leslie herself is veteran. After graduating from officer candidate school and completing studies at the Navy and Marine Intelligence Training Center in 1989, she was on active duty for four years as a naval aviation intelligence officer, tracking Soviet submarines at the end of the Cold War.
As Canon Leslie spoke, I was very moved by her description of the mental health challenges faced by veterans and active-duty military personnel. As someone who has never faced the trauma of war firsthand, it is hard for me to fathom the depth of struggle that often accompanies such service.
I am reminded that when the tradition of Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day, was first instituted, it was to commemorate the end of World War I, and the hope was that, from that moment on, peace would reign supreme. Of course, only a few decades later, much of the world was embroiled in another multi-continent war. As world peace has proved elusive, the trauma of battle has continued to take its toll on each generation.
As we honor and pray for our nation’s veterans this weekend, we also pray for those who continue to fight, in Ukraine and elsewhere around the world, and we pray that someday, in God’s good time, the valiant sacrifices of those who serve will no longer be necessary.
This Sunday at the 10:30 a.m. service, we will also sing Hymn 597, which is a beautiful prayer for peace:
O day of peace that dimly shines through all our hopes and prayers and dreams,
guide us to justice, truth, and love, delivered from our selfish schemes.
May swords of hate fall from our hands, our hearts from envy find release,
till by God's grace our warring world shall see Christ's promised reign of peace.
Then shall the wolf dwell with the lamb, nor shall the fierce devour the small;
as beasts and cattle calmly graze, a little child shall lead them all.
Then enemies shall learn to love, all creatures find their true accord;
the hope of peace shall be fulfilled, for all the earth shall know the Lord.
Amen and amen again. May it be so.
Yours in Christ,