Sergeant Nels Anthony Moller, “Andy” to the rest of us, was practically a stereotype with his naturally blond hair and blue eyes. One could have imagined him sitting on a surfboard near Ponce Inlet, serious yet smiling, waiting for the next wave to roll in.
Alas, I don’t know if Andy ever saw the Atlantic Ocean, let alone sat on a surfboard. Andy grew up on a farm in rural Idaho and worked there with his family before joining the Army. Andy was a farm boy who should have been a surfer.
Andy’s father called me from Idaho a few years after Andy was killed in Iraq. He wanted to know what I could tell him about his son. -- We were blocking the retreat of a Republican Guard unit . . . Andy was killed early in the fighting . . . We remember him for his kindness and compassion toward others . . .
. . . the last time I saw Andy before the night he was killed, Andy was comforting a younger soldier in our unit who was showing signs of stress. Andy was always helping people. -- The phone call ended and I couldn’t sleep for days.
The shortest sentence in the Bible is found in the Book of John, Chapter Eleven.
If one reads the chapter carefully it seems that Jesus was weeping over the pain Lazarus’ friends and family were experiencing because of Lazarus’ death.
Jesus Cries? He weeps with us when we are hurting? -- It seems that our God is a God of empathy, compassion, and emotion . . . who weeps for us and with us.
On Memorial Day I think of Andy’s father as much as I do Andy. My prayer is that those who have experienced a loss know that there are others who weep with them, including Christ.
Andy, I will never forget you or your father.
. . . Father, thank you for the gift of life. Thank you for Your tears that can cleans a hurting heart. Thank you for friends that comfort us just by their presence in our lives. Father, comfort those among us who have lost a loved one or a family member. Weep with us on this memorial day, and then dry our tears. In Your son there is hope, love and life. We cry out to You in Jesus name . . .