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A Light In The Darkness

From 1986-2006, The Rev. C. Neal Goldsborough served as a chaplain in the U.S. Navy Reserve where he held the rank of Captain.  As a reservist he served with Marine Corps, Seabee and Fleet Hospital units.  When Goldsborough was recalled to active duty from January to November 2005 in direct support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, he served at a combat support hospital at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.  He is the author of the book Where is God Amidst the Bombs? A Priest's Reflections from the Combat Zone, published by Forward Movement (2008).

A friend at Grace recently gave me this book.  It is small, short in text, but weighty in content.  Goldsborough shares a compelling glimpse into the life of a chaplain whose mission and ministry is to mirror the Glory of God and the Love of Christ in a far-away land at a time of  conflict and war. 

It is mostly easy reading, save for those stories of trouble and distress, carnage and destruction, life and death.  But throughout his book, Goldsborough speaks, interspersed with reflections from an Anglican chaplain who served during WWI, about hope and salvation.  In parts, it is very graphic and uncompromising about the terrors of war and what ordinance can do to tear and break mortal flesh.  And at other times, there is laughter and compassion found in the humanity of being one with another, making personal connections, offering steady care, and showing incredible love. 

God Bless all of the men and women of our armed forces who tend to the hearts and minds, bodies and souls of our military personnel, whether it be during a time of peril and warfare or a time of reason and peace.  Many are doctors and nurses, medics and orderlies, technicians and corpsmen.  They are officers and enlisted serving side by side.  And some are chaplains.  All of them carry light into darkness.

                                    I sing a song of the saints of God, patient and brave and true,
                         who toiled and fought and lived and died for the Lord they loved and knew.
              And one was a doctor, and one was a queen, and one was a shepherdess on the green:
                      they were all of them saints of God and I mean, God helping, to be one too.

                          They loved their Lord so dear, so dear, and his love made them strong;
                    and they followed the right, for Jesus' sake, the whole of their good lives long.
            And one was a soldier, and one was a priest, and one was slain by a fierce wild beast:
                          and there's not any reason, no not the least, why I shouldn't be one too.

                           They lived not only in ages past, there are hundreds of thousands still,
                               the world is bright with the joyous saints who love to do Jesus' will.
      You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea, in church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea;
                             for the saints of God are just folk like me, and I mean to be one too.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 28th, 2009 02:36 pm (UTC)
I sing a song...
or, as Teddy put it in 1984, singasongaGod
Jan. 28th, 2009 06:00 pm (UTC)
I like that hymn but not when it's stuck in my head...
Jan. 29th, 2009 01:30 pm (UTC)
Neil, btw...
is one of the Chaplains who'd occasionally 'do' the Wednesday service at the Pentagon.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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