Retirement Ceremony


This is a picture of me praying at a retirement ceremony a week ago.



A retirement ceremony is a huge deal in the US Navy. On Friday of last week, I had the honor of delivering the invocation and benediction at the retirement ceremony for Senior Chief Morgan. I worked for Senior for about six months as the assistant 3M Coordinator and it was an honor to be asked to do these prayers.

Now, the question can be asked, "How does this relate to military ministry?" The thing I want to do, with respect to reaching my crew with the Gospel, is present them as many opportunities to know who I am as possible. Many of my readers will know that the Navy doesn't allow us to pray like we might want to during ceremonies. I don't even try to get around that. It's not important. I don't need to say "In Jesus Name I pray..." in order to be a witness.

Why?

Because all a struggling sailor needs to know is that I was the guy who prayed at that ceremony he was at a few days ago. That's enough. It's like having a fish on your car. No, that doesn't equal active ministry, but it is a good passive ministry. Taking Senior Chief up on his request for me to offer the prayer for his ceremony was me essentially putting my business card out for everyone in attendance. Then they can know that "he's that praying guy."

And that is part of military ministry.

11 comments:

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

Being that "praying guy" sounds like a good person to be. I think we're that "weird homeschooling family with all the kids who don't own a tv and go to church every Sunday" to our neighbors. :)

Dan said...

It has already paid dividends. I was talking to a guy today who had been there at the ceremony. It allowed me to open up my faith, even though we didn't directly talk about the ceremony.

I would think the homeschooling would give you opportunities to share as well. Has it resulted in any?

Anonymous said...

Sheldon, nice post, but one comment. Don't the Navy remove their hats for prayer anymore. We would have ben to captian's mast for such. Your DAD.

Dan said...

Dad,
You know what? I guess that went away a while back, because I've prayed at a number of ceremonies and we've worn our covers. I don't know why that is the way it's done, but we're taught that all we do is bow our heads in unison, which you can see in the photo.

Rev. Mike said...

Are you not allowed to say, "In Jesus name" because of other faiths that may be present(i.e. Muslims or Buddists)?

Dan said...

Mike,
You know what? I can't find the policy on it. I'm a little embarrassed to say it, but I do that because I've been told to do that (or not do that, as the case is here).
When I first started giving prayers in the Navy, back in 1998, my first chaplain told me not to use "in Jesus Name" because it would alienate people. I respected him because he was a believer and he helped me a great deal. Every chaplain worth his salt afterward also seemed to suggest this. However, since I can't find the policy, I will have to research that and get back to you. I'll let you know.

Dan

Adam said...

I take it your trying to become a Chaplain in the Navy? What are the requirements to get that position and how far along are you in obtaining that?

Good luck and God bless

Dan said...

Adam, I'm no longer trying to become a chaplain. I have put together a package before. However, life circumstances and my current career progression more or less takes away that opportunity.

The fact is, also, that I can do more as a regular blue shirt than I could as a chaplain. I should explain that soon. Come back soon and I'll talk about it!

Katey said...

Awesome!! Even though you can't say "certain things/phrases" I know they will remember you as the person that prayed at the ceremony and I'm sure whatever was said, it reached many!

Dan said...

Thank you for your encouragement Katey! I appreciate it. There is so much work to do in the military community.

Evelyn said...

Thank you for the picture and for sharing your experience!