Thursday, June 2, 2011

And then there were 68

68 Days that is...

We have just 68 days until the start of our World Youth Day pilgrimage. Last night was the marathon meeting where I torture participants and parents (for the minors and a few of the college age kids) with a full display of my Type-A personality and love of Presentation (Apple's version of Power Point).

All the legal forms for the minors are now out. Everyone has their packing lists, suggested spending money, itinerary, air and hotel schedule, final week suggestions, phone tree form, and behavioral covenant. And yes, for those that know me, they are color coded.

Now I just wait to get all those forms back and go through them - passport copies, emergency phone tree, checking signatures, all that fun stuff. I get a bit of a breather on the paperwork side until July 1 when all that is due back to me.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

All Gave Some

At my brother's wedding, the quote was used, "All gave some, some gave all." This was in reference to the three friends of his who had died in service of our country. As a graduate of our nation's military academy, that might not be such an incredible percentage. But when you consider he had graduated just four years before and that those three young men left family and friends behind, you cannot trivialize. Nor can you ignore that the numbers of our service men and women who have sacrificed themselves for what they believed, for their country, for us has had approximately 6,000 added to their number over the past ten years.

Lest we forget, for all those souls lost to war, there are many more suffering the physical, psychological and emotional trauma.

Lest we forget, there are thousands of families who struggle with the grief of their loss. They grieve over the deaths and wounds. They grieve for the time spent apart. Yet, there is a sense of pride, fulfilling duty, and that increasingly illusive sense of honor.

As we leave Memorial Day behind, do not forget about the military families, current and past in your community. Make sure you are responsive to their needs as they can be so very different from the 'normal' family. Make sure your youth of parents that are serving abroad are being particularly ministered to in their unique struggles. Look to your young adults that are service members, siblings or spouses of service members. Ensure their pastoral cares are being met.

I know what I speak of. Nearly every major military conflict going back to the Civil War has had a family member serving. My father is retired military. My brother finished his service to our nation just yesterday. I rejoice knowing he will not be sent to war any more. I also have a little of my heart break every time I read a story of a military family or a service member's death.

Do not let Memorial Day observances be the end of your ministry to those who daily serve you.