Serve and Walk in Love: Our Spiritual Vocation
God is good. All the time. And in 2015 it is well with our newly formed Tucson Community Chaplains Corps, which is part of the International Fellowship of Chaplains. We’ve been blessed with many capable chaplains and plenty of opportunities to serve throughout southern Arizona. And we are looking forward to more opportunities to learn, train new chaplains, grow together, and serve the people in our community, and anywhere there is need, in this coming year, Lord-willing.
I say it often because it is so true: we live in a broken world with broken people. A world in crisis. Sounds like a broken record! But we serve the creator-God and Savior of the world, who brings new life, forgiveness, light, clarity, hope, and purpose into the lives of people in need. So we will continue to serve people in their time of need. This truly is a mainstay in the call of Christ Jesus. We want to be humble servants in the marketplace, the workplace, and the highways and byways of Southern AZ and throughout our world. We also want to be well trained chaplains and ready to serve people in crisis, both practically and spiritually.
This year, more than ever, I hope and pray that we can live and minister without fear. I believe when we no longer fear opinions of men, the possibilities for ministry multiply. The vision for outreach expands as well. I pray that perfect love will be the driving force in our lives and in all our activities. A tall order, I know, for us naturally selfish people. As we encounter others, and do so with genuine compassion, mercy and love, we will see them mended and healed, encouraged, and discovering the forgiveness hope and purpose that only Christ can bring. Most of the time, these encounters and relationships start with a simple smile, a glass of water, a listening ear, or a practical helping hand. That’s what we are about as chaplains.
There is a Movie called Of Gods and Men, which is about the French Trappist monks in Tibhirine, Algeria, who were kidnapped and murdered by Islamic Rebels in 1996. Prior to their deaths, they served all the people in their area, including Muslims. At one point in the movie, the head of the monastery named Christian warns the Dr. Luc who is treating wounded Islamic soldiers:
Christian: Be careful!
Luc: Throughout my career I’ve met all sorts of different people. Including Nazis. And even the Devil!
I’m not scared of terrorists, even less of the army. And I’m not scared of death!
I’m a free man!
An amazing script from a story that gives deep insight to how we should serve people in this life. Was it prudent for these aid workers to have stayed in the face of such grave danger? Maybe not. You decide. But I know this for sure: we are free men and women in Christ! We are set free from the power of sin, Death itself, and that slavery to the fear of death we were subject to all the days of our lives (Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 John 3:8-14).
Now we see life, and make decisions, and live life from perspectives that are informed by God’s eternal Word, and not by the popular opinions, religions, ideologies, political or social systems, or anything else in this world. We discover eternal salvation, practical wisdom, human purpose, spiritual direction and eternal hope in His Word, which is found in the Bible. We find Jesus, and our heavenly Father’s ultimate good intentions towards everyone, on every page, if we are doing our homework. Are you ready to pray and study this year?
But seriously folks, we are all just ordinary people, and if we are living in His grace, we have a calling to serve. To serve people. To serve people their time of need-whatever it might be. And as ambassadors of Christ, we are always ready to proclaim the policies and tenets of our King and our heavenly Kingdom to all who inquire. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son… so that people can live in relationship with God eternally. We represent The Servant-King! Remember that reconciliation and grace thing?
So, all you ministers of reconciliation, are you ready? Chaplains, are you set? Then let’s really pray together this year for God’s spirit and love to flood into our hearts as never before, for the sake of this broken world and broken people who need to be whole and set free. And all this for the Glory of our great King. He is love! So let us fearlessly love with His strength (1 Corinthians 13).
“Beloved-let us love one another.” We have nothing to lose! And we have everything to gain. That is, we have everything to gain that is of any eternal value.
So with that… peace out… and may you shine this year as the ‘sagrada familia’ and bride of Christ you were called to be in this dark, broken world… by His grace!
Chaplain Anders Hitchcock, Tucson, 1/15/15