by Ami Hendrickson
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
On February 3, 1943, the United States Army Transport Dorchester was off the coast of Newfoundland.
Of over 900 people on board, four were U.S. Army Chaplains: George Fox, a Methodist; Alexander Goode, a Jewish rabbi; Clark Poling, Dutch Reformed; and John Washington, a Roman Catholic priest.
Shortly after midnight, a torpedo from a German U-boat struck the Dorchester. All power and radio contact was lost. With a massive hole in its side, and with several lifeboats damaged, the ship began to sink.
Panic set in.
Then the chaplains arrived.
With quiet authority, the four men of God began passing out life jackets. When those ran out, they moved among the young passengers, praying with them, trying to guide them into the few remaining life boats.
When one soldier cried out that he had lost his life jacket, one of the chaplains took his own off and handed it over. Likewise, the other three chaplains gave their life jackets away.
According to eyewitnesses, the four chaplains linked arms on deck and, with the frigid waves washing over them, prayed as the Dorchester sank beneath them.
Each was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Cross, as well as the Four Chaplains’ Medal, specially authorized by Congress in 1961 in recognition of their extraordinary sacrifice.
When Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends,” He knew what He was talking about – for that is exactly what He did for you and me. Wonderful Savior! When the waves of sin threaten to wash us away, His sacrifice ensures that we might live forever!
Loving Heavenly Father,
Thank You for sacrificing Your perfect Son Jesus so that I, Your imperfect child, can enjoy eternity with You. You love me more than life itself. So, too, do I love You. In Jesus’ holy name I pray, Amen.