I went to a Menards home improvement store today, Memorial Day. The place was packed. Later, I headed to the local Michigan Veterans Cemetery. It, too, was packed, but not with many people walking around.
This past Sunday, we included in the worship service a Memorial Day prayer by William Sloane Coffin, former minister at The Riverside Church in New York City. Coffin, himself a veteran, was a prophetic patriot who readily admitted carrying on a lover’s quarrel with his beloved country. This he did until the day he died. This is his prayer.
Grant, O God, that they may not have died in vain. May we draw new vigor from past tragedy. Buttress our instincts for peace, sorely beleaguered. Save us from justifications invented to make us look noble, grand and righteous and from blanket solutions to messy, detailed problems. Give us the vision to see that those nations that gave the most to their generals and least to their poor were, throughout all history, the first to fall.
Most of all, give us the vision to see that the world is now too dangerous for anything but truth, too small for anything but love. Through Jesus Christ our Savior, who became what we are to make us what he is. Amen.