Memorial Day Parade
Below are two prayers (opening and closing) written for a short service at the terminus of a small town Memorial Day Parade. It could easily be adapted for a congregational worship service or other settings.
Life moves at a fast pace. News headlines and social media feeds constantly fill our minds with new information that squeezes out the old. Our memories are short and getting shorter.
But there is need to remember…to unforget…the people and events that came before. And look, here we are today, gathered on this Memorial Day, to remember.
Today, we aren’t remembering just to remember, we aren’t remembering just anything or anybody, but today, we gather as so many have done since 1868, to remember all those men and women who died in military service to the United States. And so now, in this time and place, and gathered as we are, let us remember them now together in a time of silence…[SILENCE]
Out of the silence, God, we give you thanks and praise for the lives of those who have died. Thank you for the sacrifices they made for others. Thank you for the sacrifices their families made too. And thank you for this time today to remember them.
Remembering them, we also pray this:
God of nations, grant our leaders your Spirit of discernment and restraint;
God of healing, heal all of those in our military who returned home but who are recovering from physical, emotional and spiritual wounds;
God of family, support our military families whose lives are more challenging than many of us know;
God of caring, help us all in this community to care for our military families;
God of forgiveness, forgive us all for what we have done or left undone that have hurt others;
God of peace and justice, usher in your kingdom of peace and justice more and more, that violence might end, and war be a word we no longer remember;
God of love, help us all who are here today, to love more perfectly.
And God of life, bring life to us, and to everyone forever and ever. AMEN.
God, our task of remembering does not end at the close of this service or at the close of this Memorial Day, but this task continues always.
So grant us long memories of those who have died. Grant us long memories of you, and what you have done for us for so long. And grant us blessing as we leave this ceremony today, that we might move with courage and commitment into tomorrow, to be creators, builders, healers, peacemakers, and teachers of your loving way. AMEN.
© Rev. Kevin Goldenbogen, 2017