Dear friends,

This Wednesday is Veterans Day. It was originally established as “Armistice Day” beginning on Nov. 11, 1919, commemorating the first anniversary ending World War I. In 1954 it was named Veterans Day. Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans—living or dead—but especially gives thanks to living veterans who serve(d) their country honorably during war or peacetime.

Here at St. Mark’s we pray for those whose names are on our prayer list, but I also know there are others whose names we don’t know. There are veterans within our neighborhoods who have been deployed to foreign countries and served multiple tours of duty. There are those who registered in times of peace only to find themselves in the midst of conflict. And sadly, there are too many who have suffered physical loss and emotional stress in ways we cannot imagine. There are not enough ways to thank each of our veterans and their families for their willingness to serve this nation in their fullest capacity.

I am thankful that Veterans Day, November 11, has not coupled to a Saturday or Sunday to accommodate those who want a three-day weekend. I am grateful it has not been linked to any other date thereby diminishing the sacrifice of those who answered the call to fight for the freedom of our country and for others. Veterans and their families deserve to be recognized and honored for their selflessness in the work they have done and continue to do.

This Sunday we are taking a special offering for our veterans here in San Diego as we support The Stephen A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Veterans Village of San Diego. Many of you have been reading about this in The Messenger and have already given your gift. Thank you. I’d like to tell you one more thing about this Clinic we support: Every one of the employees who works in this clinic is attached to the military, whether they are active military or they have a family member who serves. Truly, this is a case of neighbor serving neighbor.

I am so grateful for the supportive work of Veterans Village of San Diego and the multiple ways they reach out to help those in their ranks. They embody Paul’s message to the Thessalonians when he says, “Encourage one another and build up each other.” I think it is a message we can all use right now.

I hope you’ll join us for worship on Sunday as we consider Paul’s message to the church, then and now. I think it is something we can all use. However, before then, I invite you on Wednesday to pause during your day and say a prayer of thanks for the veterans in our nation and around our world. We are all the better for their work.

In peace and with hope,