In addition to serving as pastor of our church, I also have been given the privilege to serve as chaplain to the amazing men and women of the Bradenton Police Department, which has become a highlight for me in the ministry.
Each year I attend the annual memorial service that honors those officers who have fallen in the line of duty and paid the ultimate price to serve.
I remember with clarity my first time attending this significant event, which resulted in moving my heart to an even deeper place of honor, respect and appreciation for those who labor in this most noble position. As this grand memorial service began to unfold, the weight of who we were remembering and the magnitude of what they and their loved ones had sacrificed began to shake my emotions; I was undone.
As I stood alongside the gallant officers of the various law enforcement agencies in my police chaplain's uniform, I thought to myself, I do not deserve to wear this.
I know of few careers where the loss of life is a daily thought when you kiss your loved ones goodbye as you go off to work. I consider what these men and women do is a true calling from God, as so do the Holy Scriptures: "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.
For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience." -- Romans 13:1-5
The siren and flashing lights of a police car only cause fear to those who are doing wrong, but become a sound of comfort to those who are in need of rescue and protection.
Three things you and I can do to Honor the Badge:
Pray for law enforcement.
Obey the laws of the land.
Weigh what they put on the line each day and communicate your appreciation.
Here is a prayer that I wrote that I invite you to pray:
Father of Heaven and earth, I lift up our law enforcement officers before You, asking that You and all of Heaven would take notice, and You would take heed to this prayer as these keepers of the peace who have live to protect Your children in this community that You so dearly love.
I pray that Your Mighty Hand and Outstretched Arm would go before them in the battle for justice, anointing them as Your Agents of Wrath to foil the deeds of those who plot evil.
I ask of You Precious Holy Spirit, to envelop each of them with the peace of Christ that transcends understanding; guiding them with the Wisdom of Solomon as they guard law-abiding citizens whose ambition is to dwell in peace with their fellow man.
Grant them Oh God the courage and strength of King David to slay the Goliaths of wrongdoing as well as the loving-kindness of David the Sheppard, to serve with compassion and a gentle hand, discerning when to be the Lion and when to be the Lamb.
And now Dear Lord as they embark to their noble assignments this day, I request that You would dispatch and assign Warring Angels of Great Might and Power to protect them and keep them from harm. Also grant an overwhelming peace to their loved ones, reminding every mother and father, wife and husband, son and daughter, that You, the Creator of the universe has them all in HIS hands. I pray this all in the mighty name of Christ Jesus our Lord and King.
Don Sturiano, is pastor of Kingdom Life Christian Church, which meets at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at 825 Ninth St. W., just across from Turner Donuts. Call 941-776-0026 for more information.