Communion in Korea—late summer 1954

August 1, 2019

With my last Amen, our soldiers left the shade
of the only tree that the artillery had spared
on the stump-studded hills rising all around us,
to return to their duty stations, and I began
removing communion elements and a wooden
cross and scarf from the still warm hood of my jeep.

I had private moments with several of the men,
but one had lingered to be last, and when I turned
to him he asked if I had time for one more. “Sorry, sir,”
he said, “if this sounds silly, but could you just tell me,
Chaplain, why you believe in God, because lots of my
buddies don’t, and I’m not even sure myself.”

“Oh, it’s simple,” I said. “No long proofs. I believe
in God because I want to—and at times because I must.”
We smiled, he shook my hand warmly, and turning
toward his buddies, he called, “Hey guys, wait up,
I got my answer for you.”