Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Chaplains Memorializing Chaplains Who Gave the Last Full Measure

From John Szilvasy, who everyone knows is the SFA Chapter IX, Chaplain: A local Marine and I conducted a Memorial Service on Tuesday morning (Feb 2) at our Chapter’s Coffee gathering to remember and honor the self-sacrificing actions of the four US Army Chaplains on the troop ship Dorchester on February 3, 1943. They died to give four soldiers the chance to be saved. They embodied the great teaching of Jesus, who said, “I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. And here is how to measure it –the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends.”

Gracious God, our Father in heaven, we are gathered here to honor the four military chaplains who sacrificed their lives on February 3, 1943. They gave their life jackets to soldiers as their troop ship Dorchester was sinking after being torpedoed by a German submarine. We remember them now by name: Chaplains George Fox, Methodist; Alexander Goode, Jewish; John Washington, Roman Catholic; Clark Washington, Reformed Church.

O God, as their ship was sinking they called to You in prayer and song for helping them to save four soldiers by giving them their life jackets. They died knowing that You were strengthening their faith with your promise in the Bible that You would never leave them, nor abandon them. With You beside them, You led them with each step to choose to sacrifice their lives so that four soldiers would be saved.

By remembering and reliving their supreme sacrifice of laying down their lives for others, our faith in you is strengthened. With a stronger faith and your guidance in the midst of life threatening situations, we know that our difficulties can now be resolved by our decisions to obey your teachings as did the four chaplains. We thank you O Lord, for the blessing of their sacrifice.

Our heavenly Father, we thank You for sending your Son Jesus Christ, our risen Lord and Savior, to sacrifice Himself to pay the penalty for our sins. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are reconciled to You and You give us the promise and the gift of eternal life with You in heaven when You call us to our eternal home in heaven.

Gracious God, please continue to hold our military in Your loving and protecting hands. Guide and defend them as they engage and defeat our enemies, and then return them safely to us. Bless their families with Your comforting presence, support, and guidance as they wait for the return of their loved ones. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen."

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