Prayers for Veteran's Day -- 2019
I have been asked, once again, to offer the invocation and benediction at the Veteran's Day observance in Troy, Michigan. I offer these prayers, modified somewhat from the prayers I offered at the same event in 2017, in honor of those who have served and with a prayer for peace on my heart.
God of peace,
We gather today to give honor to women and men who have served their country with dignity, honor, and courage. We seek to recognize the willingness of our veterans, who have shown a willingness to serve in difficult and often dangerous moments, whether they were drafted or volunteered.
As we gather here today, we pray that a spirit of peace will come upon the nations of this world, so that young women and men will no longer be called away from family and friends and put in harm’s way. We look forward to the fulfillment of the prophet’s words, who spoke of a day when the nations “shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
It is in the hope that peace will reign on earth, that we give thanks for willingness to serve, not only in times of war but also in times of peace. We give thanks for those who have been present during times of disaster, bringing relief and support to communities in need. We give thanks for the sense of purpose and community that emerged from this time of service. We give thanks for the recognition that service to the community is important.
We not only honor those who served in the military, but we also give thanks and honor for families, especially spouses and children, who may have waited with bated breath for news of their loved ones who risked their lives in places far from home.
We know the terrible toll that war can have on the lives of those who serve, so we pray for healing of body and spirit, asking that your grace would wash over them, that they find wholeness in heart if not in body. We pray that those who struggle with life’s difficulties, that they and their families might find hope for the future.
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 together we might pursue the common good of all creation, here and abroad. Amen.
Holy One, may we go forth from this place appreciative of the lives honored here today. May we follow their example by committing ourselves to service to the community and beyond. May we receive the spirit of friendship that can develop when people come together through public service, including military service. May your Spirit empower so that we might transcend every barrier and boundary that divides us from one another. And, grant us wisdom as we pursue a vision of peace and justice for everyone who lives in this nation and beyond, for we are all your beloved children.