Prayers for Veteran's Day

We are a few days past a divisive election, with an uncertain future. I will have more to say in the near future about my hopes and concerns. But, today Veteran's Day. I'm not a Veteran, but I am the son of a World War II veteran. I have friends, including church members, who are veterans. I respect their service. I'm grateful their sacrifices, even if I might question decisions to go to war by our government. It is important that we not question the service of men and women who served with courage and dignity. I'm using a picture of the Vietnam Memorial Wall as a reminder how soldiers and veterans of that war were treated when they came home. We should do better. We must do better.

This morning I offered prayers at a celebration of the service rendered by veterans to country here in Troy, Michigan. This is the second time I've done this. It is an honor to be asked, and on this occasion I was introduced not only as a local pastor but as the newest chaplain for the Troy Police Department. This is my way of serving my community and those who are called upon to protect and serve.

In honor of veterans young and old, I share these prayers -- the invocation and a benediction. 


            We come before you, God of all nations, to honor those who have served in the military of this country with dignity and courage. We come in the spirit of peace, with the hope that a time will come when as the prophet spoke, the nations will beat their swords into plowshares. This is our hope and our dream, that one day there will be no need for war anymore. But, since wars do happen, and women and men are called upon to serve their country, we must give thanks for their service.

            We honor our veterans, whether they volunteered or were drafted, whether they were enlisted or officers, because they gave of themselves for others. Not only do we honor those served in the military, but we also want to honor and thank their families, especially spouses and children, who may have waited with bated breath for news of their loved ones who were risking their lives in places far from home. May they also know our gratitude.

            We who love this country, ask that you not let us forget those who served and continue to serve. May their example encourage us in our service to community, country, and world, so that we together might pursue the common good of all.            Amen.


            God of grace and peace, may we go forth from this place appreciative of the lives honored here today.  May we commit ourselves to serving others, whether it is through military service or simply volunteering in the community.  May we remember the spirit of camaraderie that often develops when people are brought together through public service, including military service. May that spirit enable us to transcend every barrier and boundary that seeks to divide us from one another. Grant us wisdom and a vision of hope for the future of this nation and of this world.    Amen         


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