Thursday, July 02, 2009

Finding God in War and Peace

A Table in the Presence: The Dramatic Account of How a U.S. Marine Battalion Experienced God's Presence Amidst the Chaos of the War in Iraq A Table in the Presence: The Dramatic Account of How a U.S. Marine Battalion Experienced God's Presence Amidst the Chaos of the War in Iraq by LT. Carey H. Cash

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I read this book because it was recommended to me by a dear friend and the person who baptized me, the author's father-in-law. I saw a great deal of influence of his saintly father-in-law in these pages.

This book tells the true story of the first Marine Battalion in Iraq, and their spiritual as well as military struggle there. LT. Cash, who is currently the President's chaplain at Camp David, is a man of true Christian faith, expressed as a Baptist Navy chaplain, but open to the ideas of a liturgical and sacramental faith such as is found in the Catholic form of worship.

As a Catholic, I found it reinforced my beliefs on the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the benefits of confession to a priest, the healing power of sacramentals, and the intercessory power of prayer. In fact, I was astounded as I read time after time of Chaplain Cash's account of God's providence in Iraq, how closely it aligned with my Catholic faith.

For example, Chaplain Cash explained how, as a Baptist minister, he was trained to explain the scriptures in order that worshippers could apply it to their daily lives. But he found the men going into battle didn't have the time or the inclination to listen to fine sermons. They primarily desired two things: confession (with absolution) and holy communion. As a Protestant, Cash could hear confessions and advise the penitent of their saviour's forgiveness, but he couldn't offer sacramental absolution. Also, I believe Chaplain Cash understood the men's need for holy communion as something greater than words. Despite the fact that the communion wafer was merely a symbol of Christ's body, the men desired mystical union with Christ before they went off into battle.

Chaplain Cash also spoke about seeing angels protecting them and the power of intercessory prayer and how much it meant to the men to know that people back home were praying for them.

Just as his father-in-law, Chaplain Larry Ellis, told me I would, I loved it.

If President Obama and his family spend more time at Evergreen chapel at Camp David, as Time magazine suggests, Chaplain Cash may have the opportunity to share his tremendous faith with our chief executive. I know, the White House "denies" these rumors. But perhaps the Obamas will find the spiritual solace they need at Camp David.

I can't help but think that is a good thing.

View all my reviews.

1 comment:

Anna Scott Graham said...

As how Prime Minister Tony Blair absorbed his wife's faith, then converted after leaving office...

Very intriguing review!!