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.
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,
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,