Veterans Day - 2017

When I first came to Grace last year, Betty Reese walked up to me and said, "My late husband Bill served in World War II and wrote a book about his experiences. Would you like to read it?" "Absolutely!" I said. My grandfather also served in WWII and I've always loved hearing his Navy stories (my dad, uncle, and their father were also Navy, and I have three cousins who currently serve, assuming I am not forgetting anyone. I'm digressing). Anyway, Betty gave me Bill's book, I took it to the house, and placed it on my bedside table. And it sat there. For months.

After awhile, Betty asked me if I had finished the book. I said no. I had started and stopped several times. After another lengthy period of time she asked again. I had made no progress. She understood: moving to a new place and the adjustment period makes taking on new things difficult. She asked for the book to be returned, so she could loan it out to family. I reluctantly gave it back. Then a few months later, out of the blue, Betty asked if I'd like to take another turn. "YES!!" I said, determined to finish it this time. She brought it to me, and I jumped in. I finished it a couple of weeks ago. It's filled with incredible stories.

Bill was a pilot. He could fly anything, but he spent most of his time in a P51. He talks about his training, his home life, and the harrowing details of his service, the most dangerous when he was shot down over occupied France and was missing in action for several months. There are also many sweet letters from Bill's parents, between Bill and Betty, and Betty tells many of her own first-hand recollections of the War. I am so grateful I finally made the time to finish the book. 

I called Betty a couple of weeks ago to check up on her-- she's been home for several weeks recovering from a fall at the hospital, where she volunteers for the Auxiliary.  She's recovering well, and hopes to be back at Grace soon. I told her I was ready to return the book, but she said I could hang on to it in case anyone else wants to read it. I think the next reader may be our James. Let me know if you'd like to be added to the queue.

Tomorrow is officially Veteran's Day, but it's being observed nationally today. During our worship on Sunday we'll pause briefly to recognize, and pray for, our veterans here in the congregation, plus those who serve in various places on our behalf. It's our privilege and joy to do so. 

Psalm 20
Prayer for Victory

The Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
   The name of the God of Jacob protect you! 
May he send you help from the sanctuary,
   and give you support from Zion. 
May he remember all your offerings,
   and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices.
May he grant you your heart’s desire,
   and fulfill all your plans. 
May we shout for joy over your victory,
   and in the name of our God set up our banners.
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions. 

Now I know that the Lord will help his anointed;
   he will answer him from his holy heaven
   with mighty victories by his right hand. 
Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,
   but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God. 
They will collapse and fall,
   but we shall rise and stand upright. 

Give victory to the king, O Lord;
   answer us when we call.