Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day

I was asked this morning to help lead a Memorial Day service at the church cemetery, during which I offered the following prayer based on the hymn, 'A Song of Peace:'

O God of all nations, we offer a prayer for peace both for this land and all other lands. America is our home, where we base our hopes and dreams, but we are also aware of hearts in other lands beating just as strongly for their own.

We give you thanks for blue skies, for sunlight, for the shade and green of the trees over us. We give thanks that those skies, your sunlight and shade are over people in other places as well.

This is our prayer, O God of all nations and kingdoms, that your kingdom will be realized above all others, that on earth it will be done as it is in heaven. We pray, O God, for unity among all people, that peace might reign and begin with each of us.

We pray for those the world over who need protection from violence. We pray that we might overcome differences and work toward a new world ruled by love, and governed by hope rather than fear.

We pray this prayer of peace, O God, remembering those who died because there is not yet this peace, this love, this hope. We pray that you would continue to transform this world into one in which another’s humanity is valued and another’s well-being is treasured. We strive for this world and
for the hope that it gives us. It is in your name we pray. Amen.

In addition, I gave a brief address about how we celebrate people's service to protect us even as we grieve a world that requires that protection. I'm grateful to those who serve even as I am conflicted about our military presence in some parts of the world. If it weren't for their defense, this country would look very different and that wouldn't be all good by any means.