I have just returned from a National New Chaplains’ Orientation. For the most part, it was a good experience. It was good to ‘rub shoulders’ with novice chaplains and to meet some long time veterans. During this week I was introduced to “The Dismas Fellowship”. According to legend Dismas was the name of the thief on the cross who asked Jesus to remember him when Jesus came into His kingdom. The Dismas Fellowship is worshipping community of ex-offenders and others. Many of the ex-offenders do not feel comfortable or accepted in churches, yet. A group of us met and shared lunch with just such a group. It was a lot of fun as we sang and shared together. Out of this has grown another group “The Friends of Dismas”. This group is made up of people who wish to support, in any number of ways, the life and ministry of the Dismas Community. I was quite inspired by this simple idea and its ecumenical scope. I wonder if such groups might grow in Saint John. Perhaps you can pray with me about this.
Today is Remembrance Day. This has been a meaningful day for me because my dad was a veteran of World War ll and worked for many years at a Veterans’ Hospital. Author and newsman Tom Brokaw calls my father’s generation “The Greatest Generation”. Certainly it was/is a generation that exemplified the ideal of ‘self-sacrifice’ . I remember preaching at a Remembrance Day Service, bemoaning the paucity of this virtue in my generation. I have moved from despair about this to a guarded hope. While ‘boomers’ may have missed the self-sacrifice gene, by and large, it seems that younger folks have it in spades! The task is to make room for this fresh altruism especially in the Church. I sense a righteous anger at the way we boomers have affected life on this planet and a desire to see ‘justice roll’ as the prophets said. Today I remember a generation that won security for democracy, that faced genuine evil and prevailed, and left a better world for my generation to exploit.
We can look with faith to a time of fresh altruism but it will not come by apathy but through; prayer, example, and encouragement. Let’s pray “Thy Kingdom come” and then as my old friend Capt. T. would say “put legs on our prayers.”