By Paula Schlueter Ross
ST. LOUIS (July 22, 2013) — The next time you see a veteran in a parade or standing in line at the airport and you want to thank him or her for serving, “please do so,” said Chaplain Mark Schreiber in his presentation to the Synod’s 65th Regular Convention. “But also consider the images that still haunt the warrior’s soul, what human suffering has been inflicted or suffered in defense of our nation — for your family and for mine.”
Don’t pity, idolize or judge veterans, cautioned Schreiber, director of the LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces, but “just accept the veteran back into the human race. Let our sons and daughters come home. Let the healing begin at the foot of the cross of Christ, again, and again, and again.”
Schreiber began his presentation with a 4-minute clip from the video “Warriors of Faith — Military Men,” a five-part Men’s NetWork Bible study produced by Lutheran Hour Ministries and Chaplain Steven Hokana “as an outreach tool to our servicemen and -women.”
In the video, Hokana talks about serving in the military, the difficulties he has seen servicemen and -women endure, and how the church can help. The resource explores the issues of anger, grief, guilt, forgiveness and love. Click here for more information.
The video-based Bible study, Schreiber said, is “especially fitting” for use by Operation Barnabas chapters — now at 66-plus congregations nationwide. Operation Barnabas, launched by LCMS convention action in 2007 to serve veterans returning home from war, now serves “all veterans from all wars” — an estimated 20 to 30 million people, most of whom are not active church members, according to Schreiber.
“What a tremendous, overwhelming opportunity, for the Gospel lies at our doorstep!” he said.
Schreiber also encouraged Lutherans not to “retreat to our churches and find safe haven in our own backyards” in the face of an increasingly anti-Christian culture, but to “speak in the public square,” proclaiming the Gospel “in every place … just as God grants opportunity.”
Evil can only triumph, he said, “when good men and good women do nothing.”
The LCMS convention is meeting July 20-25 at the America’s Center Convention Complex here under the theme “Baptized for This Moment.” Among convention participants are some 1,200 clergy and lay voting delegates.