A Prayer for Memorial Day 2020
|Vietnam War Memorial, Washington DC|
It is Memorial Day in the year 2020. This year things are different. We are in the midst of a pandemic that has forced us to stay home to stay safe. That means events that normally transpire are not being held. For the past several years I have accepted the request to offer an invocation and benediction for the Memorial Day observance here in Troy Michigan. I do so representing both my congregation and my position as a volunteer police chaplain. I'm sharing here the prayer I offered last year. I'm not making any changes to the prayer itself, but I will add that as we pray for those who died in service to the country in earlier years, especially in times of war, we might add into our remembrances those who have died during this pandemic. As we near 100,000 deaths, that number might include friends and family members. I know it includes members of my congregation. As we pray for them, we can add also those who are currently serving the community in myriad of ways, especially first responders and hospital personnel. In offering prayers for those who have died in the military one need not affirm the righteousness of war, only the loss of life in service to others. Many who served, did so because they were drafted. It wasn't their choice. While I am not offering a public prayer this year, may this prayer be a word of remembrance that can serve as a word of encouragement and honor, even as we pursue the call to peace.
God of Peace and Compassion,
We come together as a community to honor the memories of women and men who have laid down their lives in the service to the nation. We call to mind and heart their lives so that they might not be forgotten as time passes.
We gather to lift up the families of the fallen. May they find solace, healing, and encouragement in this act of remembrance.
We gather to remember all those whose service to country and community has left them with injuries, disabilities, mental distress, or loss of faith. May they find healing of body, mind, and spirit.
Together with these persons living and dead whom we have noted, we also lift up and remember all our loved ones who have died. We remember husbands, wives, children, parents, and friends whose absence is keenly felt. May we find comfort in calling to mind their legacies.
On this Memorial Day, we lift up all who grieve, asking that may find reassurance in your comforting presence.
Even as we remember all those who have given of themselves in service to country, even to the point of death, we also pray that peace may one day be fully experienced. We pray that the day will soon come when Isaiah’s vision will be fulfilled so that 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 anymore.”