Greetings from Faith Lutheran Church in Eldorado.
The Marine Corps birthday on Nov. 10 (oorah!) and Veterans Day on the 11th are this week.
These men and women do deserve our respect and thanks. As a veteran myself I do not look for a spotlight or feel that I have done anything that any other person would not have done. I proudly did my duty and would do it again. I believe most veterans have similar feelings.
The vocation (calling) of a soldier, sailor, Marine, or Coastie is one that is in line with God's ordering of society within this sinful world. The government is there for the protection of her citizens, to maintain a just society, deal with crime, and create an environment to enable her citizens to thrive. Obviously, the military is there for the protection of the nation against those who would attack us, particularly from without, but every service member takes an oath to oppose enemies of the Constitution from within and without. The government is given the authority to bear the sword -- Romans 10:1-7. The military, along with the police, and other agencies is the sword.
Merely using deadly force is not the goal of the military but to deter enemies from advancing on our nation or creating a situation that would lead to an attack on us. There are just wars and unfortunately there are wars that should have never been fought. A service member has not only the right but the responsibility to disobey an unjust order, but this is not an easy thing to do. The average boot on the ground has a limited view of the area of operations even in a small tactical skirmish. The fast-changing battlefield and the fog of war makes it difficult to make these types of calls.
Therefore, the service member who is using deadly force justly is doing God's will and not sinning. The religious faith of the service members doesn't matter. Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus and Cesar Augustus were unknowingly carrying out God's will and they were pagans. We don't just honor the Christian service members but all service members. The honor we bestow on them has nothing to do with the issue of salvation, for earthly works don't contribute to anyone's salvation.
So, we honor those who serve. We celebrate with the Marine Corps their heritage. We keep both active service members and veterans in our prayers both in thanksgiving and in asking for God's protection and success on and beyond the battlefield.
We would be amiss if we forgot about the families -- particularly the spouses and children -- who also sacrificed and endured life without their service member to share in all the domestic needs that life brings. These challenges, though not always life threatening, still were and are thwart with loneliness and heavy burdens.
Thank you and God bless to all veterans and their families and happy birthday to the Corps.
• David Otten is the pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Eldorado.