Friday, May 24, 2013

Prayer for Memorial Day

Prayer for Memorial Day
Almighty God, strong to save,

            we remember the brave men and women

            who have given their lives on the land, in the air, and upon the sea

            in defense of our freedom and liberty,

            from the minutemen killed at Lexington or Concord,

            to the brothers killed from both the North and South in the Civil War,

            from the greatest generation who gave their lives during World War II,

            to the Active Duty troops and National Guard men and women

                        killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As we remember and memorialize those who have died,

            may the day serve to memorialize them not through words engraved into stone

            but gratitude burned into our  hearts and minds.


God of earth, sea, and sky,

            we also pray that you will guard the brave women and men

            who are this very moment risking their lives for our country

            as they serve in foreign lands.

Give them compassion for enemies who also fight for patriotic causes.

And keep our sons and daughters,

            our husbands and wives,

            and our brothers and sisters

from hate that hardens,

            or from scorekeeping with human lives.

Though they must be at war, let them live for peace,

            as eager for agreement as for victory.

Encourage them as they encourage one another,

            and never let hard duty separate them

            from loyalty to your Son, our Lord, Jesus the Christ.

Note:  I have been using this prayer for some time, slightly redacted every year.  I have been using it so long that I have perhaps lost touch with some its original sources.  There are obvious allusions to the Navy Hymn, “Eternal Father, Strong to Save”, #562 in The Presbyterian Hymnal, as well as phrasing drawn from a prayer “For Those in the Military” #65 page  818 in the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship.