Premobilization Prayer

hardshipShalomAs-salamu alaykum. Grace and Peace.

Please join me in a moment of silent reflection or prayer in your tradition, as I pray in mine.

Father. God.

The ancient proverb states, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” We have grown sharper together these past three weeks.

Thank you for our 2 Battalion family. It is a privilege to serve with these Soldiers.

Thank you for our Soldiers and their tirelessness and spirit.

Thank you for our NCOs and their diligent service and professionalism.

Thank you for our officers and their discernment and leadership.

Thank you for watching over our loved ones in our absence.

Provide us safe travel to our armories and our homes.

Continue to prepare us and bless our loved ones as we embark on the mission ahead of us. Bless each Soldier, NCO, and leader.

Bless the work of our hands so that we may advance your goodness.

Help us not only be better Soldiers because of the lessons learned together here, but also better people.

Watch between us while we are absent from one another.

We ask all this in accordance with your mercy, grace, and strength.

*Final formation prayer concluding Operation: Seminole War Paint (Premobilization/Annual Training 2015).

dark

darkWhy does the Army train at night?  Training in the dark heightens our skills and makes us more capable in both the day and night.

Same goes for our Soldiers’ lives… Walking through the dark places in life can make us more capable to face and overcome adversity…if we’re not alone.

The book of Job teaches it’s readers of the importance f faith and trusted fellowship.

For many of our Soldiers, whether this is their 1st or 4th deployment, this deployment ushers a level of darkness into each of their lives, households, and friendships. Let’s not let our Soldiers walk alone or without faith – wherever they may find it.

(Word of the Day at 22JUN CUB) #WOTDseries #Drop6

spirit

spirit

Today, some of our Soldiers trained in the CS Gas Chamber. Breath was important. The word for “breath” and “spirit” is one-in-the-same in both the Jewish scriptures (“ruach”) and Christian scriptures (“pneuma”).

Breath. Spirit. The substance and very function of living.

From the word “spirit” we derive the words: inspire, conspire, respiratory, and esprit de corps.

Esprit de corps refers to a “feeling of devotion, loyalty, and enthusiasm in regards to a team or group.”

General George C. Marshall (WW2 Army Chief of Staff) stated, “Military power wins battles, but spiritual power wins wars.”

Our Soldiers’ spirit is an invaluable force multiplier. How can we nurture it?

(Word of the Day for 20JUN CUB) #WOTDseries #Drop5

aim

Sling and five smooth stones used by David to kill Goliath on a white background

“Hit what you aim at” is one of our Battalion Commander’s key expressions. This is the most basic of Soldier tasks, and most crucial. “The Infantry owns the last 100 yards of the battle,” he reminds us.

New Yorker writer, Malcolm Gladwell, writes in his most recent book “David and Goliath” that the underdog, David, actually had the tactical advantage in the fight, not the giant. David may have been outsized but he was not outmatched. Slingers were always favored over heavily armored warriors in ancient combat.

David’s advantage was his courage through preparedness and faith, through which he defeated an oversized opponent.

The EXMAT (training plan) for our 21 days of training may seem like an oversized opponent, but 2-124 Infantry is not outmatched because of our preparedness and faith…**

 

**and the tirelessness of SGM Slingerland “The sling is mightier than the EXMAT!”

*(Word of the Day at 16JUN CUB) #WOTDseries #Drop4

crucible

crucible“A crucible for silver; a furnace for gold; but people are tested by their praise.” Proverbs 27:21 NLT

We enter our three-week premobilization training with high hopes and expectations. The training will refine our skills. Humility will refine our character.

*(Word of the Day at 10JUN CUB) #WOTDseries #Drop3

 

brief

megaphone“Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” Proverbs 17:7 ESV

“Brevity is the Soul of Wit.” Shakespeare

Whoever controls their mouth, controls their life.

*As a Chaplain, as with all leaders, knowing how to say what needs to be said, saying it, and then sitting down is an invaluable skill.

*(Word of the Day at 06JUN CUB) #WOTDseries #Drop2

Vulnerable Soldiers

WordThese leaders are giving me valuable seconds of their time. They are among our nation’s best leaders. They are looking at me, their Chaplain. A few seem impatient while hearing the specific word I share. Perhaps, their wariness is the result of previous violence done to their faith, or the culmination of an intellectual process, or the adherence to a different philosophy or theology. I hold this in tension with the importance of what I’ve been asked to share. I don’t want to come across preachy.

The Commander’s Update Brief (CUB) is a meeting during which the key leaders of the battalion report the activities of their companies and sections to the Battalion Commander (BC). It is critical. As the Battalion Chaplain, I advise the BC on religion, morals, and morale of the unit as well as the coordination of Religious Support (RS) to the unit. At the end of each CUB, the BC has me provide a “Word of the Day.” This “word” is accompanied by a few brief thoughts which are intended to encourage these leaders and, subsequently, their units.

I care about each of these men and women. Any reluctance one of them may have to listen is important to me. They are important to me. God’s Kingdom is given to such as these. Christ built the church on men and women like these. I want these words to be received without seeming smarmy, preachy, or heavy-handed. I believe God’s Spirit is working through this “word” at varying degrees with each person. Therefore, I focus the “word” on our shared concern: our Soldiers and our nation.

I experience a personal sense of vulnerability and tension as I speak. I choose to let my guard down and accept indifference, skepticism, and rejection…as well as the chance for a breakthrough. That’s the nature of unconditional love; it’s vulnerable and strong. It often comes with the feeling of discomfort or the fear of seeming absurd to peers, subordinates, and superiors. Yet vulnerability is a catalyst.

Henry Nouwen states that the “…Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self.”

This is what my calling is…to offer my vulnerable self to these leaders. I realize the fullness of our situation; I recognize that these leaders are offering their vulnerable selves to me, too. It is symbiotic. Our strength is through being vulnerable Soldiers.

I hope sharing the “Word of the Day” doesn’t get easier. I perceive that the more vulnerable I feel indicates the more on point the day’s “word” is. Isn’t this true for all ministry and leadership?

#WOTDseries #Drop1