This Sunday I had the privilege of offering the invocation once again at the local American Legion Memorial Day celebration in Forest Hills, Queens.

The parade — one of the oldest in the city — was cancelled this year due to the pandemic, so we gathered in a small patch of land, Remsen Family Cemetery, an historic burial place that dates back to the 18th century.

The gathering was small — a couple dozen people, but very devoted

We heard a recording of taps and “God Bless America,” and a bagpipe player offered “Amazing Grace.”

Here is my invocation for the event:

Dear Lord,
At a moment when so many of us are isolated, locked down, separated from one another,
We come together, on common ground
To make of this hallowed field a place of prayer.
This is our church, our temple, our mosque.
Here, we lift our hearts to You,
To ask for Your blessing, consolation and grace.

Let us pray:

Almighty God,
Look with love on those we remember this day:
Sons and daughters, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers.
On this Memorial Day, help us to be living memorials to their service and their sacrifice.
May we never forget that we stand here today under Your sky,
Our feet planted on Your earth,
Living in blessed freedom because of them.
Lord, we ask that you guide our country as we continue to find our way,
Trusting and hoping that it is also Your way.

Gracious God,
Hear our petitions this day for those whose hearts are broken:
The grieving, the wounded, the lonely.
On this day of remembering, we remember them, too.
We pray that You give them comfort, and healing, and hope.

Finally, merciful God,
We pray that you watch over and protect
The men and women who are still serving,
Still standing watch at this hour.
We pray that you stand with them, uplift them, protect them,
So that we may we one day share with them a better world,
And live together in Your peace.
We ask all this with gratitude for every blessing,
In your name,