Thanksgiving On Memorial Day Weekend

I never wrote it down. When Conference Minister with office in Austin, Texas, from 1997—2005, I preached no less than 40 times each year in a different church each Sunday. We had 90 churches, so in about two years, each pulpit had been occupied. Well, that’s only metaphorically true, because until I was told it was not permitted, I never stood in the pulpit.

What I hadn’t done? I hadn’t remembered, even if it was 4 years later, which of my favorite stories had I shared in that pulpit. I laughed when Bill Royster, my wonderful Associate Conference Minister, said to tell the same story didn’t matter. For two reasons. One they will have forgotten. And two, if it’s a good story, no good story should only be told once. I agreed on his second posit but held off on the first. Well, my ego held off, let’s be honest.

So, this being Memorial Day weekend I’m going to repeat a story, one of my favorites. In June of 1987 I received a Doctor of Ministry degree from our UCC Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves, Missouri. At the time I was pastor at Broadmoor Community Church in Colorado Springs.

Went to the service alone. That will remain as stated. I was wrong.

Walking in the procession for the service I looked once. Then looked again. There stood one of my Broadmoor Parishioners, Colonel Robert Dickman. ON HIS OWN—it wasn’t a military assignment, but rather his commitment to ministry and the church he wanted to be there. Amazing. That was 1987. Since then Bob has become a General Officer and has retired. He and his wife, Barbara, asked me to baptize their son Tad, even though I served a church after Colorado Springs in Ohio. Tad is now on the executive staff of the Jacksonville NFL team. They know I only wear blue and orange for the Broncos. That has not damaged our friendship.

Bob and I continue in frequent contact. He’s been great in explaining to me what is happening today in military negotiations. I’ll leave it at that. Today I think of Bob and all my military friends, retired and active and offer a prayer of thanksgiving.

I also think of a valued friend, Chase Stapp, Chief of the San Marcos, Texas Police Department. Chase is my go-to-guy when my novel hero, Tricia Gleason, is in a legal/police situation. It’s great for him to help…better than great.

Then. This morning I read the linked story…of how police “showed up” with their lights flashing, so to speak. In support of their fallen colleague’s son at his 5th grade graduation.

So. I give thanks…both for personal circumstances and for societal benefit, for those who serve and protect. Of course. Perfection is not headlined, because it never happens. Yet, I wish. My final wish. I wish people would spit out their anger and then offer a different voice…to understand why kneeling is not such a horrible act. Ah, I wish.


About Mark H Miller

Diane and I live in Leander, Texas. This past June 17, 2015 I celebrated the 49th anniversary of my ordination. We returned to Texas after three years in Washington, during which I served as interim minister in Bellevue/Eastgate and Mercer Island. Am planning to begin a 5th novel that will have my protagonist, Tricia Gleason, serve a year in licensed ministry in Snoqualmie, Washington. The novel, "The Lemon Drop Didn't Melt," will find Tricia wrestling with ministry challenges. None of which more daunting than someone wanting her breathing to stop. All the published novels are available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle under Mark Henry Miller. A primary goal in our return to Texas is to make sure grandchildren get lots of attention--here and in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Traveling is definitely an activity that will not slow down. With that, of course, fishing will happen. To that the t-shirt is apt, "I fish; therefore I am." In addition to novels, the book of Blogs, "Voice Of My Heart," is also available on Amazon.
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