Matthew 25:34-40 — “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ ‘The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
As I was meditating on this passage, I was reminded of a previous blessing I received several years ago. I had the privilege to participate in a training for military chaplains. One of the presenters mentioned St. Martin of Tours. She had a small figurine statue, kind of a “show and tell” item.
Along with the statue she gave a short devotional, telling a small portion of his story.
Martin was the son of a high-ranking Roman military cavalry officer. And as a son of an officer he was under a compulsory obligation to enlist as well. In his early adolescence he came to know Christ in the military camps after Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity.
One day upon horseback he met an unclothed beggar on the road. As a man of compassion Martin cut his long Roman style cloak in half and gave the lower half to the unclothed man.
Later in a dream, Martin saw the beggar’s face, which had now changed to the face of Christ. After his discharge he was baptized and entered the ministry.
That’s basically how I remember her presentation. I do remember some of the details she shared about the term “chapel.”
The word chapel can refer to any free-standing structure or a small room set aside for worship, prayer and meditation.
I find the traditional church history of this really fascinating.
The word chapel has several meanings as I’ve mentioned. Chapel comes from the old French and Latin Cappella meaning “Little Cloak” — from his large cloak, to his now little cloak.
Later in time the king of Gaul charged others to preserve the relic — short cloak/cappella. Those individuals became known as “Cappellani” or “Chaplains” and from there on their duties were applied not at a regular church but a “chapel.”
Many of our modern hospitals, airports, and funeral homes have small chapels to accommodate the spiritual needs of the people visiting those facilities. Many of our police, fire, Alaska State Defense Force, Civil Air Patrol, Coast Guard Auxiliaries, and military branches have appointed chaplains. Just about anywhere social clubs and groups of people are united in efforts to serve others.
The qualifications to be a chaplain vary with each denomination, agency, group, club or profession. Many require being ordained and higher learning degrees of education. Others only require an earnest desire to serve in a manner of faith and practice.
A simple verse of Scripture that is both a guidance and encouragement to me is Matthew 10:42 - “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
Here on the Emerald Island we have many great opportunities to serve as chaplains.
Personally, my goal as a chaplain is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination through Word and Deed.
Grace and Peace to all throughout our Kodiak Island communities.