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Christianity Faith on the front lines

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by spnadmin, Jun 15, 2010.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    1947-2014 (Archived)
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    Jun 17, 2004
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    On Wednesday, the front page of The Wall Street Journal featured an arresting photo of a soldier kneeling beside a stunned comrade reading to him from a camouflage-clad Bible.

    It is easy to debate the relevance of the Bible from the safety of our classrooms, living rooms and newsrooms. But on the battlefield, where lives are lost, soldiers are injured, and families ripped apart, there is little question about the relevance of the world's best-selling book.

    The Bible isn't the most-translated, best-selling book of all time because it's celebrity driven, at the right price-point or because of a flashy cover (though there are many eye-catching options these days). No, in times of war and peace, poverty and prosperity, pain and pleasure, the Bible speaks to the issues that matter most to help us make sense of life. I suppose that is the reason the soldier in the picture clings to both to the Scriptures and to the possibility of seeing his wounded friend healed and restored. I believe each of us is hardwired for hope, though none more so than those in harm's ways.

    Since the Civil War, American Bible Society has been helping soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and guardsmen discover the power of the Bible to offer comfort, peace and hope to our military. But we certainly don't do it alone. Chaplains are the military's front-line champions in encouraging troops in times of fear and discouragement.

    Almost since our founding, we have provided chaplains with practical resources that help them point questioning soldiers to passages of Scripture that speak directly to their situation. For men and women who are just beginning to get to know the Bible, we provide chaplains with resources that help soldiers who would like to engage with Scripture and see the big picture of God's love story to humankind.

    For nearly 200 years, American Bible Society has sought to deliver God's Word where needed most. Often, "where needed most" has meant "in harm's way." During the last two centuries we:

    • Distributed Bibles to the crew on the U.S.S. John Adams in 1817
    • Provided Bibles to both Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War
    • Provided Bibles to U.S. soldiers during the Mexican War
    • Delivered Bibles to U.S. troops serving in WWI
    • Distributed more than 7.4 million pieces of Bible literature during WWII
    • Provided military personnel in the Persian Gulf with 300,000 compact Bibles with camouflage covers
    • Developed pocket-sized military Bibles for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan
    Most of us will never find ourselves on the front lines of battle, but we can all learn from the bravery of those who do. The men and women who serve around the world are models of resiliency and readiness. Their commitment to our nation should inspire gratitude in each of us who enjoys the freedom that their sacrifice makes possible.

    It may not seem like much to offer a pocket-sized Bible to those who are risking so much on our behalf. But to those who receive it, it is often a gift without equal -- the gift of hope.

    Lamar Vest: Faith on the Front Lines

    Posted for Tejwant Singh ji Malik
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