A message from Chaplain Johnson (LtCol, USAF)...
Last Thursday morning I was one of more than 300 runners
in the NSA Armed Forces Week 5K run (Ft. Meade, MD). It
was pretty crowded at the start, but things thinned out after
about five minutes or so, and I took my bearings. Perhaps 200
yards ahead of me was a group of maybe 8 Marines or so who were
obviously running together. I decided that a good goal
would be to beat them, which seemed reasonable as I am a macho
Air Force Chaplain and they were only a bunch of United States
Marines. I kept them in sight for the next couple of miles,
but the longer the race went on, the younger those guys got.
It became apparent to me in the last half mile that I was not
going to catch them, and I resigned myself to finishing well
Then I noticed that one of their number was struggling and
was gradually dropping off the pace. I panted out a word
of encouragement as I caught him and realized that he was not
about to give up. Within 100 yards of the finish line
I saw a strange sight. The entire group of Marines made
a u-turn in the road and were running back towards me.
As they ran past me I noted their well-chiseled muscles and
the determined set of their jaws. I glanced over my shoulder
in time to see them rally around their buddy to provide the
emotional support of the team so that they could all finish
I was impressed. No way would they leave a struggling
comrade behind. As I entered the finishing chute I murmured
a prayer. "God, I'm glad those guys are on our side."
And so it was that I learned a theological truth from the U.S.
Marines that is as vivid as any my seminary professors ever
"If anyone... sees his brother in need but has no
pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Let us
not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."
1 John 3:17,18
Last Thursday I witnessed "a few good men" in action.
They reminded me of the strength of being a team, and that words
without actions are pretty much useless.