Just as we have done for generations, we gather the Corps of Cadets in Wicker Chapel throughout each week to hear the Word of God and the Gospel message presented from the pulpit. Today, I had the privilege of delivering the message at chapel.
All FUMA Cadets, with Bibles in hand, learned about the faith of the centurion from Matthew 8: 5-13. The verses were read by our Cadet Chaplain, Cadet Jackson Pretus of Charlottesville, Virginia. Cadet Pretus is a senior and will be attending college at William & Mary in a special international degree program in partnership with the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland.
I'm sure that many cadets heard the inspiring story of the centurion for the first time today. The centurion was an officer of the Roman army and likely had up to a hundred Roman soldiers under his command, kind of like a Company Commander in our Corps of Cadets. At this time, these Roman soldiers governed (and often subjugated) the Jewish people.
The meeting between the centurion and Jesus was remarkable...and radical. The Roman centurion had many obstacles to overcome in approaching Jesus with his special request: cultural awkwardness, distance, political pressure, and his servant was at home suffering in horrible agony. He asked Jesus to simply say the word, just as the centurion might issue a command to his own soldiers...and he knew that his servant would be healed.
Such great faith! Jesus healed the centurion's servant without going to his house. So great was the centurion's faith it was credited to him for good. What obstacles hold us back from having a faith like this?
Faith is believing. It is one of the core values we teach at FUMA: respect, integrity, faith, character, and discipline. Faith gives us hope. Hope is our encouragement to press on in life believing, in faith, in God's promises. The centurion had great faith, faith that got him out of his comfort zone. Faith matters. Have faith.
Have faith like the centurion.
Colonel David L. Coggins, USMC (Ret.)
Fork Union Military Academy