Over the last several years it has been a tradition here in East Greenwich that the rector of St. Luke’s offers an invocation during the town’s Veterans Day Parade. This year, the rector was away at a conference, so I was asked to give the invocation. So this past Saturday, I strolled down main street to Town Hall to watch the parade and give the invocation. Despite the bitter cold there was an excellent turn out. I was struck by the dedication and service of so many throughout our town to create a special day for all Veterans. Check out some photos of the day over at East Greenwich News. Below is a copy of my invocation. Let us continue to pray for those who have served, those who continue to serve, and that all of us may work for justice and peace for all people so that one day wars might cease in all the world.
Let us pray:
O God, the author of peace, we come before you this day to offer our humble gratitude for all those who have answered the call to serve our nation in the Armed Forces.
We come before you this day to offer our prayers for all those who have fought the good fight and paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We pray for those who have returned home, whose spirits and bodied are scarred by war, whose nights are haunted by memories too painful for the light of day. We pray for those who have returned home to find themselves neglected and forgotten. Open our hearts that our remembrance and gratitude for them may not be confined to one celebration, one day a year.
This, and every day, may we remember and give thanks for the dedicated service of our home-town heroes who marched on the front lines, who sailed the stormy waters, who flew in the dangerous skies. Let us offer our gratitude for those who served on military bases, staffed our embassies, and guarded our leaders; who worked in factories, classrooms, offices, kitchens, hospitals, and all other outposts of service.
As we celebrate and honor all those who have served, let us also remember those who continue to serve. Those who are stationed in places near and far. Those who do not know when they will see their loved ones again. Those who stand in harms way. Those who stand ready to give their lives for the cause of liberty, freedom, and justice. May our prayer for them always be their safe return home.
As we offer our thanks to all those who have served our nation, we ask that you instill in every person a sense of restlessness at injustice. That no person may rest until all people of this land share the benefits of true freedom and gladly accept its disciplines. Make us a nation that always strives for the freedom and peace of all people. Give us a zeal for justice and the strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will; that one-day we may know wars to cease in all the world. That one day, all of your creation may live in that perfect peace that only you can give. Guide all the people of this land that we may do justice, and love mercy, and walk in the ways of truth.
All of this we pray in your loving, liberating, and life-giving name. AMEN