Sixty six years ago on a bitterly cold February day an American troop transport ship, the USS Dorchester, was hit by a torpedo from a German U-boat and sank in less than thirty minutes in the waters of the frigid north Atlantic.
A total of 675 men lost their lives that day including four military chaplains. After assisting many of the dazed and confused survivors to find life-jackets and life-boats, these four men literally gave up their own life jackets when the supply ran out. As men were clinging for survival the four chaplains prayed, led hymns, and offered words of support and spiritual comfort. Numerous survivors told of how these four men gave them the hope they needed to hang-on. They were last seen standing together praying as the ship sunk into the icy waters.
Alexander D. Goode, John P. Washngton, George L. Fox, and Clark V. Poling were these four chaplians. They were Catholic, Protestant and Jewish, but they served and sacrificed for all on that ship.
I just returned from a Civitan luncheon in their honor. I sat in a room with men and women from many faith families. I thought about the chaplains and I thought about us.
We are in a war too. It is not fought with bombs and bullets, but it is a war none-the-less. It is war for our very souls. Our enemy-Satan- deploys weapons of eternal destruction. How can we fight him if we are fighting each other?
Imagine being on that sinking ship. Would some of our “issues” matter then? Would we refuse to fellowship that guy from another tribe handing us a life-jacket?
We are in a war and we need all the allies we can get.
Let’s wage peace and see what God can do with that.