From: Rich Carlson
Date: February 19, 2021
Subject: It's February 19; Good Morning Union

“Always be prepared…”          1 Peter 3:15


A week ago this morning I was in Palmer, Alaska, taking my usual morning walk! It was, by the way, warmer there that it was in Lincoln! Because my body had not adjusted to the 3 hour time difference I was up earlier than I normally am. It was about 4:30am and I was doing as I normally do, walking, enjoying the stars, and reciting scripture that I have learned in the past as my way of connecting with my Creator. Suddenly I heard, a ways behind me, a voice, “MISTER!” I kept walking and she called again. I turned around and there was a lady walking in the middle of the street as I was (not much traffic—ok, NO traffic, in Palmer, Alaska, at 4:30 in the morning.) I was bigger than her so was pretty secure so I waited for her to catch up with me. She had obvious trauma to her mouth and nose, and said, “My boyfriend just beat me up and I had to get away. I was praying that God would send someone to help me and then I saw you and said, ‘It’s an angel.” I assured her I was NOT an angel and we walked and talked for several more blocks. My police chaplain training and experience helped me encourage her to find help which she did eventually agree to do. As we were parting I said, though I was not an angel, I would be happy to pray for her. And that was my ah-ha moment. What do you say in a prayer that does not sound patronizing or prerecorded to a woman who had just been through such trauma. I’ve done it many times before in my work with the Lincoln Police, but for some reason this seemed different. This was not part of my responsibility as a chaplain, this was my personal response to a new friend. How do I offer her hope when she saw none (except the “angel” walking down the road).


I prayed some things that I thought might help, like asking God to give her peace when she saw no peace, and strength when she felt no strength, and encouragement when she really had nothing to be encouraged about! I said, “Amen,” looked at her, and saw her in tears. She grabbed me and hugged me like a drowning child in a swift water rapids. Her next words were so impacting on my life as a reminder that it takes so little to care for someone in need; just a willingness to care. There are no words that can fix things like this, and no actions that will heal all the hurt. I just reminded her that there was help available, and I prayed for her, and when I finished praying she simply said, “Thank you mister. NO ONE has ever prayed for me before. I still think you are an angel.”


As my dear friend Lilya Wagner titled her book, “Caring is Not a Spectator Sport,” caring is also not just for those who can “fix it all.” Caring is taking time to listen, touch, care, encourage—and pray. I don’t all that happened to Lillian as we parted and  she promised she would go to the clinic, but I do know that in her heart she still thinks she met an angel, and all I did was go for a walk that morning, talk to God, submit myself to Him, and as I do every day, offer to be His hands and feet if He needs me, and then be attentive and available for Him.


PS, I still don’t think I’m an angel, but I am ok with just being an available servant!


Have a great day being available to care,

Pastor Rich


Quote for the day:      “Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.”        Barbara

PS        Family Worship- 7:30pm in the church. Our student chaplain, Alex Rodriguez, will be sharing Jesus.

PPS      Afterglo- Our Black Student Union friends will be helping with our Afterglo tonight with music and a focus on prayer requests. Join us after Family Worship in the Church lobby for hot drinks and warm friendship!