CLEF Newsletter - December 2016

“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; lovingkindness and truth go before You. How blessed are those who hear that joyful trumpet! O Lord, they walk in the light of Your favor” (Psalm 89:14-15).

Video credit: “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” - Casting Crowns

It is more an act of self-discipline than personal interest that forces me to the front page each morning (sports section aside). Domestic and international news is more often sad, tragic, disturbing or outright ominous. My heart is at once burdened for the families of loved ones killed, by terrible loss from some destructive incident, the injustice of a bureaucratic overreach or sad disgrace from a breach of trust. We cannot ignore these things because they’re the reality of the world and community we live in, be it New York, Tel Aviv, Baghdad, or a one room schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, PA, let alone Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, Arora, or the tragic list of our brother and sister officers gunned down of late. The heart of man assaults our spirit and confronts our soul in a world that will not allow us to ignore its ever spiraling and increasingly shocking decline. We weep and mourn and increase our guard, and wonder if tomorrow will have any hopeā€¦

“And in despair I bowed my head;
There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

With cautious optimism we enter the holidays expressing genuine gratitude for God’s providence and care. Yet perplexity remains over evils at home and abroad of which we must, for indeed we must, be a part of both owning, interdicting and enduring. But I also find that embracing the pain of another, while exposing the emptiness of a world filled to the brim with it and adept at mass producing it, also points me to the substantive reality of God’s lovingkindness, justice and righteousness infused into His created order as something which must be true. It is not the heart of man that aspires to such things, but God’s Spirit of grace, mercy and faithfulness that alone redeems today and personifies through us the hope and inspiration toward tomorrow.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

Thanksgiving’s horn of God’s Providence. Christmas’s trumpet of God’s Proclamation. Hanukkah’s light of God’s Presence. The Morning Star of His Peace. “In Your name we rejoice all the day, and by Your righteousness we are lifted up. For You are the glory of our strength, and by Your favor our horn is raised” (vv.16-17).

On behalf of my fellow chaplains I would like to thank you for allowing us to serve you this past year. In and out of your unit, around the station, at events, personally and professionally, we count it a privilege to be of assistance to you. We try hard not to be in the way, but available when and however you need us. Having someone there to share your heart, your struggles, fears, perplexities and frustrations, even your grief and pain; your joys, aspirations, celebrations; failures and successes, it is a privilege to be made a part of your life and times. We don’t always get it right, but we offer a caring heart and hopefully an insightful thought or two. Or maybe just a listening ear. But either way we’re working to be more available and effective, and by God’s grace, a more trusted source of confidence, for you and your family. God bless you all this holiday season, and grant you and yours the joy of His good future and hope.