I had never been to Letchworth State Park before. Merry had biked there years back, and I remember an old black-and-white home movie of my parents and grandparents going there, likely lost forever. But that’s about it.
It was really beautiful, but I didn’t get to see much of it. It was too cold to camp overnight, so we went on Sunday, and for one purpose — I was appointed Chaplain of Thomas’s Legion Light Artillery Division of the Northern Army of Virginia.
I also had never been to a re-enacting event, and had never been near cannons going off — until now. I’m glad my wife had me bring ear plugs. I didn’t know what to expect, and I had a Sunday service planned, but the interest was little, so I did a reading of Matthew 5 (43-48) followed by a simple blessing over the troops I had written the night before:
May the Lord protect you and gather you to His higher purpose, both in this life and in the next. May your sufferings be paled by His comfort and your fears quenched by His strength. May any harm you do others be not sin but necessity, and may you forgive all harms in return. If you pass from this world today, may it be a grand reunion, and if spared, may your life be cherished all the more dearly from this day forward, given in service back to He who brings forth all Life. Go now to Love and serve the Lord and each other. Amen.
There weren’t any good photos taken of me doing my thing, but I will remember my experience on the “battlefield”. I strolled a bit, shouting out a couple Psalms (99 & 86), and when the casualties came close to our position — the artillery was off to the side away from the skirmish — I crept out to the fallen, just in time to hear the Union soldiers playing taps.
It was our turn to die today.