Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Prayers

Our little town hosted its 40-something'th annual Memorial Day parade yesterday, which includes a ceremony on the town green.

Because our church owns the town green, we are free to appeal to the name of Jesus. Most of my readers know I am wary of the conflation of Christianity with patriotism (of any kind), but we were blessed by the slice of traditional small town life on full display yesterday and humbled by the community's reflection on our nation's fallen heroes. And I was honored to have the opportunity to offer the ceremonial prayers.

The Rutland Herald did a nice little piece on it here. The story excerpts from one of the prayers. I have pasted the full text of both below.


Heavenly Father,

This afternoon I thank you for the beauty of your creation and this beautiful day to enjoy it with our community. Thank you for this opportunity today to remember fallen heroes and to celebrate memories old and new.

I ask that you would please cover us all with joy and gladness.

Help us to honor well those who have made the utmost sacrifice for the cause of liberty. Help us to honor them with sincerity and fondness, in intellect and inspiration, and for hope and happiness.

Let us grieve well and rejoice well.

And above all help us to follow every gift we encounter on this green earth like a trail of bread crumbs to you, the great Giver of grace, the great Giver of Yourself.

It’s in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ I pray,



Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the gift of this day, its precious meaning and the joys that come with it. But please don’t let us hold it in higher esteem than we hold you.

Keep us respectful of our leaders, from soldiers and veterans here and abroad to President Obama and the members of Congress, to our local police officers and firemen and medical workers. Keep each of us as fellow citizens respectful of each other.

But as we thank you for the great gift of a free nation, keep us even more mindful of the kingdom that is eternal and unshakeable, the one belonging to your Son Jesus.

It’s in his name I pray,



Doug said...

Great prayers Jared. That's a tough line to walk-well done. Glad you and your church could serve your community that way.

ChosenRebel said...

good word brother. Jesus smiles and the Father is honored when the Son is exalted. Keep being faithful.

Anonymous said...


Chris Donato said...

Way to not conflate the kingdoms, Jared. I get tired of all that, so it's great to see it not perpetuated for once.

I wonder, how might this prayer have been tweaked, if at all, would these prayers have been offered during a gathering of the church?

Doug Hagler said...

I was in the same situation this past Memorial Day, giving the invocation and benediction at the cemetery out behind our church in my own small town. I've only been the pastor here for a few months, and have the same misgivings about the conflation of God and country. I think I also pulled it off (haven't heard that I gave offense, also didn't say anything I didn't believe) but it's good to see someone else who had/felt the same challenge.

Todd Pruitt said...

Great way to 1) bless your community, 2) rightly thank God for those who died securing our political and religious liberty, and 3) to life high Jesus.

I share your concern over the many ways that patriotism has been combined with worship. It is not a good marriage. However, it is entirely appropriate to publically acknowlege that God has kindly given us liberty and this through the means of many thousands of soldiers.