I went to the Cops and Clergy breakfast on Friday. It’s an event that happens once a month and rotates between several of the churches in Galveston. The idea is to get police officers and pastors and chaplains together for a meal and fellowship without any political agenda whatsoever. It has been a really good way to do some barrier-breaking and simply to make some new friends.
This time I sat across from one of the other pastors in town. He was talking about a upcoming surgery he faced where he was to lose both of his kidneys. His son might be a donor, but I gathered they were waiting to see if he was a good enough match. The moderator of the meeting let everyone know of his situation and of our need to pray for him. He was about to move on, so I interrupted him and asked if it was legal for us to pray for him right then. He asked if I was willing to do it. Interesting question. Of course I was willing. So the pastor grabbed my hand and I prayed. Nice experience. There’s just something about praying for and with someone that draws you a little bit closer.
After the meeting one of the pastors stopped me and asked if she could ask me a few questions. Now, I was in my fire department chaplain uniform, because my intention was to visit one of the stations after the breakfast. She informed me that he life’s goal for the next phase of her existence (well, after this phase was complete in about five years) was to be a volunteer fire department chaplain at a small town somewhere in Minnesota or Missouri. It’s all she wanted to do once she finished her current assignment. So she asked questions about what I did, how I got started, and in general, what was it like. I was in my element then. She got an earful. I love to talk about my brief career and the rewards it has brought. Not financial, of course. But the rewards have come in the chance to be involved in life with the fire fighters … in weddings and the births of children and even funerals of retired fire fighters or of family members. I have been honored to be accepted by the guys as “one of them.” It’s like being a pastor to six different churches (we have six stations, three shifts to each station) to add to the ministry God has called me to. Way too much work for a volunteer, and that really frustrates me, but I do love the time I do get to spend as “Chappy.”
1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.’”
Father, thank you for the chance to touch lives as a chaplain that I would never have otherwise. Be with my fellow pastor as he faces that kidney surgery. Protect the officers as they patrol. And as always, walk with my friends in the fire service. I love those guys, and I know you do, too. Amen.