Here is the prayer I offered before my sermon yesterday.
Our Heavenly Father,
As our country celebrates Memorial Day tomorrow, a day set apart to remember those women and men who have died in military service to the United States, we pause to remember all those who are grieving the loss of a loved one in armed conflict. We pray for families who are apart because of wars around the world. We pray for their safekeeping and quick return home.
In a world governed by principalities and powers, it is expected that we hate our enemies and celebrate their defeat and death. Yet, Lord Jesus Christ, you taught your followers to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” And so today we pray too for those our country considers enemies and those who consider themselves enemies of our country. We pray for justice and peace that can only be brought about by your hand.
Our merciful God, we look forward to the day when swords are beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. When nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will any train for war anymore. Until that day, keep us faithful to be a people known by our love and service to one another. May our lives point to our Savior whose triumphant victory came through a humble death on a cross.
In the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.