Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Brotherhood - Semper Fidelis

Dear friends,

Christmas greetings and salutations!  My heart is indeed stirred by a noble theme: God with us - Emmanuel!  It really is stunning.  Across the miles, across the ages, across time and space, God fulfills His great wish: the redemption of and resulting friendship with the human race.  And not just for some, but for "as many as would believe on Him..."  God and sinners reconciled.  It doesn't get any better than that.

We had the honor of hosting Christmas today (with a much smaller group than the Thanksgiving gang of 26!), and one of our dear guests was David G., better known a "Sarge", a double purple heart Vietnam Vet, and as he would never let you forget, a Marine.  Sarge formed a friendship with our nephew Daniel, a young Marine stationed in the southern desert of Afghanistan.  Sarge received a gift today that illustrates a point I want to make.  (If you think I tend to spiritualize everything, I'm afraid you're right!)  Anyway, Daniel called me a few weeks ago (technology - WOW!), and said he was sending something for Sarge.  It arrived this past week, and I don't exaggerate when I tell you I was nothing more than a puddle when I opened it.  Folded in that familiar military triangle was an American Flag.  In a separate FedEx envelope was a certificate.  The flag was flown on Sept. 11, over a fort in Afghanistan, during Operation Freedom.  It was dedicated to Sergeant David G. by Staff Sergeant Daniel Champagne and signed by two Marine Majors.  When Sarge opened the thing (nicely put together in a beautiful double frame display by Smitty), well, that about made my Christmas...his too.

I realized that the marines have a bond of brotherhood that extends way past age, time, race, gender and any other qualifier.  These folks are tied together with cords that touch something primal inside, something I believe we all long for, and are supposed to experience.  What The Book calls "the body of Christ" was meant to be a brotherhood even deeper and more tenaciously tied together than the Marines.  How beautiful it must be to our Father when we defend one another to the death...when we honor one another from the youngest to the oldest...when we willingly sacrifice our own comfort or blessing or even reputation for the ultimate good of our fellow "soldier".  I was moved by the love of one young man in the midst of battle toward an older man who had travelled the road before him, and the reciprocal affection of the seasoned, tried Sergeant to his "little brother" in the thick of it.  How it inspired my soul to have that kind of sweet dedication toward those walking the pilgrim highway with me.  No matter their station in life.  Not envying those of greater faith, but honoring them.  Not judging those of weaker faith, but encouraging them.  And determined more than anything to stick up for them against the enemy lurking in the shadows to injure their precious souls.  How I need that kind of help along this wild road!  And how I pray I will grow in being that kind of Christian.  Semper Fidelis.

Not a typical Christmas blog, I know.  But it was Jesus' present to me this Christmas.  Way too big to fit in any stocking.

Your friend on the pilgrim road,


P.S.  That's Sarge in front of the tree.  Beloved brother and worthy of honor.

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