Below is my invocation for the Forest Hills, New York Memorial Day parade, delivered Sunday morning outside the local American Legion hall:
God of remembrance,
give us comfort and consolation on this day of remembrance,
as we honor those who have gone before us:
men and women, sons and daughters, husbands and wives,
those who served this great nation with courage and selflessness and duty.
We owe them a debt we can never repay.
Because of them, we live today in a land of possibility.
Because of them, we worship you in freedom.
Because of them, we dream of limitless horizons for our children.
We stand on the shoulders of giants — the ones who defended, protected, sacrificed,
all for a future that so many of them would never live to see.
Gracious God, we ask you to hold them in your loving embrace,
as we bow our heads and pray to be worthy of their sacrifice.
We also offer one more humble prayer:
a prayer for peace,
We pray for swords to become plowshares,
for guns to fall silent,
for mothers to no longer weep for the children they have lost on battlefields.
On this beautiful springtime morning, we look to you with grateful hearts full of hope,
and pray for this above all:
Teach us to be instruments of peace.