Meaningful message from Chaplain Larry Wiliamson

Chaplain’s Corner

What a delight it is each year to welcome the newness and freshness of springtime. Wherever you live, whatever the climate, spring is a reminder that resurrection is possible, and renewal is wonderful. It’s enough to make a person want to pray. And what better prayers can we offer at this time of year than a springtime prayer such as the following:

 A Hymn of John Newton

Lord, afford a spring to me,
Let me feel like what I see;
Speak, and by your gracious voice,
Make my drooping soul rejoice.

On your garden deign to smile,
Raise the plants, enrich the soil;
Soon your presence will restore
Life to what seemed dead before.

(Adapted from A Hymn for Spring by John Newton)

Whether you welcome this new season with the above, or pen a paean of praise that is all your own, may a new season of prayer blossom in your heart and life. 

Chaplain’s report

Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials…Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:2,12, RSV

Lord our God, be with us. Touch us with your Spirit so that our hearts may receive something from you. Let us find joy even in a life of struggle and temptation. Let us find joy in every need we face, even in the agony of death. Protect us through your Word, and let it always be a light to us so that we can follow you and do your will. Be with us on all our ways. Guide everything with your hand until the goal for all humankind is reached and we may rejoice over all the trials and testing because in the end the glorious prize can be won. Amen.

Chaplain’s Corner

As we observe Veterans Day this year, let’s pray for the safety of the almost 200,000 U.S. troops who are currently deployed overseas in 177 countries and for the countless veterans and civilians right here on our soil who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

PTSD affects an estimated 12 to 20 percent of non-injured veterans and 32 percent of veterans who have been in combat. It’s a debilitating illness that can result when a person lives through a traumatic event such as war. The condition is often either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, and people who have no experience with it often don’t understand it. The slightest sound, smell, or movement can trigger flashbacks and cause a person with the condition to relive the trauma.

PTSD is associated with a high suicide risk and can be difficult to treat. 

Veterans with PTSD often face additional difficulties that compound their suffering. For example, people who oppose the U.S. government’s military involvement may criticize or even attack veterans who served in conflicts. And there is still a stigma regarding behaviors that may be interpreted as mental illness. Soldiers on active duty often keep silent about their PTSD symptoms because they fear that they will be considered weak if they seek treatment.

This Veterans Day, and every day, you can contribute to the healing process by praying for friends and loved ones suffering from PTSD and by encouraging them to seek treatment and to reach out to the Lord for help. Proclaim the Good News — no, the Great News — that God’s grace can enable veterans and civilians alike to conquer PTSD and rebuild their lives.

Chaplain’s Corner

The Flag Speaks:

Since the time of my birth many stories have been told about me. Now I feel it is my duty to tell you what I am and for what I stand.

Born during the Nation’s infancy, I have gown with it, my stars increasing in number as the country has grown in size. I am not only an emblem showing the authority of the United States, indicating supremacy when flying over land, ownership when flying over Government buildings, power when displayed by troops – I mean much more than that, I represent the ideals and traditions, the principles and institutions, the hopes and aspirations which constitute what is to mankind the greatest nation in the world, the United States.

Stirring are the stories of my stars and stripes. My thirteen red and white stripes recall the history of that long, bitter eight-year struggle in which the Thirteen Colonies fought and stood side by side for freedom, exemplifying the principle that “In union there is strength.”

Each of my stars tells the story of a great and sovereign State, which entered the Union.

Filled with significance are my colors of red, white and blue into which have been woven the courage and strength of Americans.

The red in my stripes proclaims the courage that inspires Americans to face danger and to do what is right. The strength and courage of Americans from the conquest of the wilderness by the pioneers, through the Revolutionary War, and all wars since, and all those who fought and served in our Armed Forces has done more than anything else to make the Nation over which I fly the greatest and most wonderful in the world.

My white stripes mark me as the emblem of the land of the free, the country in which the oppressed of the world may enjoy equality and liberty.

The blue in my field of stars stands for loyalty. It is true blue. It tells the story of thousands of men and women who have been loyal to their Country through suffering and hardships.

I signify the Law of the Land.

I stand for the Constitution of the United States.

I represent the Declaration of Independence, the Birth Certificate of the American Nation.

I stand for peace and goodwill among the Nations of the world.

I control the strong, protect the weak, relieve suffering, and do all I can for the betterment of mankind.

I stand for tolerance of all creeds and races.

I reflect the wealth and grandeur of this great land of opportunity.

I tell the story of the achievements and progress of the American people in art and science, culture and literature, inventions and commerce, transportation and industry.

I am the badge of the Nation’s greatness and the emblem of its destiny

I am whatever you make me, nothing more. I am your belief in yourself, your dream of what a People may become. I am fear and song, struggle and hope.

I am no more than what you believe me to be, and I am all you hope that I can be. I am the American Flag.