GRAND RAPIDS, MI – My office is at the entrance to the Veterans Home Chapel. It was a very quiet day as I sat at my desk working on my sermon for Sunday. My office door was closed, but God sent an unexpected sacred blessing my way. You see, Mr. “E” was in the chapel and had no way of knowing anyone was around but him and the Lord. I felt like an eavesdropper listening in on a party line. I listened as this broken bodied, disabled Marine sang “How Great Thou Art.” He was singing as best he could to an audience of one, his Lord.
Mr. “E” has an electric operated wheelchair to make it to the chapel because his “mangled” body no longer lets him walk. His voice raspy and broken allowed very little air into his lungs. He could only sing 3 words at a time, but what beautiful music he made. He was singing from his heart and I imagine how pleased God was with him. Mr. “E” may not have much left that works, what he does have he gave it all to the Lord. He was fighting the good fight that the Apostle Paul wrote about. He had finished the “race” in his electric wheelchair.
There was a second sacred moment that came to me on this day. It was when his wife came in to make his funeral plans. I asked her when her husband, Mr. “E”, became such a Spirit-filled Christian and she stopped and paused for a silent minute of personal revelation. She looked me in the eye with a look of amazement and said “it had to be when he moved in here and attended chapel services.” My head didn’t swell up from pride, but my heart began beating for joy. It was blessing two from my friend Mr. “E”.
I am so happy that I have the freedom in the Chapel Worship Service to preach the Word of God without interference. It is true that encounters in the rest of the facility have to be cautious and sensitive to non-Christians, but when our veterans come to the chapel they will hear the plan of salvation and sermon after sermon to ignite spiritual formation.
If you feel God may be talking to you about serving our military, police and emergency workers as a chaplain or have been called by God to be a chaplain or to be of support to our chaplains in prayer please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also see more information on our BSCM website at bscm.org and look under “SEND” to find the Chaplaincy page.
We will have several chaplain training opportunities throughout the year. Keep checking our website for further information and registration.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chaplain Bob Dennis is the new Chaplain Coordinator for the BSCM. He became a North American Mission Board endorsed chaplain for the State of Michigan after ministering as a pastor in the Woodland Baptist Association for many years. He currently is a chaplain assigned to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans