Spring 2002
Volume 6 Number 3
 

 

 

 

 

 


Chaplains Who Serve the US Armed Forces

For God and Country  |  Section 2: Two Extremes of Love Section 3: The Demands of Ministry  |  Section 4: Two Chains of Command Section 5: A Ministry of Diversity  |  Section 6: Chaplain History  |  Section 7: Theological Boot Camp  |  Section 8: A United Vision


A United Vision

How is this massive, sprawling organization of such a wide variety of people able to function? “Everybody is committed,” says Kibben, “whether temporarily or for the long term, to the common purpose, and it’s a voluntary service. There are going to be prejudices, but I think that overall it’s really exemplary how it works.”

Like any other ministry, especially one with such breadth, military chaplains touch the lives of many, while they may have little or no impact on others. When asked how soldiers respond to having chaplains speak the gospel into their lives, Zust says, “I think some of them don’t even realize it’s happening! But I think they do realize that ‘there’s someone here who cares about me, who has a presence in my life, who comes to the hospital when I’m there, who when I’m cold and lonely on a field exercise at night spends 20 minutes talking with me.’ They do pick up on that. And it does make a difference.”

Which seems like the common purpose that brings together these military chaplains: they’re part of what is an honorable, powerful, ugly, painful, and necessary business—a business that needs the presence of the gospel to make a difference. They’re needed to offer care and support to the young men and women upon whom the nation calls to serve in war, a service that exacts a high cost.

And so “Be Thou My Vision,” the closing hymn of Princeton’s November 2001 Military Chaplains Day worship service, seemed an appropriate prayer. Chaplains and civilians came together that morning in Miller Chapel and sang: “Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true word; I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord; Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.”


For God and Country  |  Section 2: Two Extremes of Love Section 3: The Demands of Ministry  |  Section 4: Two Chains of Command Section 5: A Ministry of Diversity  |  Section 6: Chaplain History  |  Section 7: Theological Boot Camp  |  Section 8: A United Vision

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