Ministerial Musings – “SURPRISE!”

I’m willing to bet that y’all weren’t expecting me to pop up on this page this month! However, to borrow a phrase from the Marine Gunnery Sergeant into whose loving care the US Navy has entrusted the current Chaplain School class, “I COME OUT OF NOWHERE! YOU WALK PAST A MANHOLE COVER, BOOM! THERE’S GUNNY!” Or, in my case, “JIMMY!”
Anyway. It’s been an interesting experience so far, to be sure. After three weeks of solid classroom instruction, we finally got off Fort Jackson and took a trip up to Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, and then down to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, with an intermediate stop at Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads, Portsmouth, VA. Our “saltwater trip” gave us a bit of a look into the lives of the Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who will be serving as Navy chaplains. Our next step? A week in the field, learning how to be a sea services minister while completely disconnected from civilization.
But no matter what we’re doing, with each passing day, I get that much closer to getting on an airplane and flying back home to Missouri. I miss my house, I miss my cat, I miss my car, I miss my office, I miss standing in the pulpit, and most of all, I miss Caitie. That having been said, though, it is a good group of Navy chaplains that I’ve been working with over the last few weeks. Fifteen non-liturgical Protestant Christians (two of us Disciples of Christ!), two liturgical Protestants, two Mormon elders, one Roman Catholic priest, one Greek Orthodox priest, and three Jewish rabbis (all of different stripes of Judaism) make for a very interesting dynamic indeed. We’ve definitely together been learning what it means to minister to what Jesus referred to as “the least of these” in Matthew 25.
Speaking of which, if you’d like to do a little homework for my first sermon back, on the 23rd, I’d recommend reading Matthew 25:31-40 and reading up on an individual named Vincent Cappodanno.
For now, though, I must be off. There is still much to be done, and not much time in which to do it. I’ll be back soon, and I look forward to seeing you all once more!
In Christ,
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