Spirituality for Today – November 2010 – Volume 15, Issue 4

Editorial – Service

By Rev. Raymond Petrucci

I have known them all my life. Some were relatives, some were friends and neighbors, and some I learned of through the media. On the eleventh day of this month, we honor them all in thoughts and prayers. They are the veterans of the armed forces of the United States of America. Forsaking all for the defense of our country, they stood as the bulwark against the great enemy. They set aside their dreams and normal pursuits, leaving city and farm, family and friends to take up arms. From 1776 to the present day, they have answered the call of a country injured, of a country threatened, to become a wall of defense and an avenging angel.

A photo of an American soldier saluting

War in all its tragic consequences and its insults to a tearful God has been too common an occurrence in human history to pass off as an aberration. There is a force deep within the makings of man that always stand ready to rest the works of peace and to practice the art of war. Humankind has been both predator and prey to its very self from its first sin against the Creator.

If you require evidence of the presence of Original Sin, look to the tendencies and capabilities innate in human nature that lead to the making of war. Look to those whose activities of thought and action are intertwined in so many entries on the list of sins enumerated in Scripture. Throughout history, the names are legion of those whose lives have been given over to the pursuit of twisted notions of righteousness, mission, and destiny. Theologians and psychologists can attach many an apt label to these individuals, but all can be reduced to the reality of sin.

Remove God, morality, and conscience from the arena of human interaction and destruction at all levels of human life must result. Many a madman has fraudulently employed religion, patriotism, and justice to justify their nefarious plans. Ears normally closed to the ravings of such individuals can be roused to hear their rants should circumstances be desperate enough. As part of the deceit, the accomplishment of a number of authentically beneficial works for a people can preface the truly evil intent of a maladjusted leader. In the end, war leading to the inglorious defeat of that nation is the legacy of such leadership.

Against these evildoers stand the countless men and women who have marked the full meaning of service with their lives. To them we owe an immense debt of gratitude. For without them, our highest ideals and our most cherished freedoms would have perished.

Redemption will be needed to the very end of human existence. The sins of mankind will continue to crucify Christ. In opposition to the inability of generation after generation to resolve problems through peaceful means, people of good will indefatigably must strain to grow in the understanding of- and control of the worst in our being and to determine to give to God our best selves. Someone once expressed the sentiment thus, "When I lie down worn out, other men will stand young and fresh. By the steps I have cut, they will climb; by the stairs I have built they will mount."

Our prayers soar to heaven for the brave and courageous ones of every age who have met the challenge of the destroyers and have saved the world from their evil. In their humility, they have said, "We were just doing our job." With complete and heartfelt thankfulness for their service, we reply, "Job well done."