As part of my pastoral prayer today, I focused on Memorial Day.  This is that portion of the prayer:

Holy One, as I stand here in prayer before you on this weekend when we acknowledge those who have died in war wearing our nation’s military uniforms, I confess that my mind swirls with concerns and feelings about the futility of war, about how the economy is a defacto military draft, and about our political system that seems too eager for war.

I also remember our history.  I remember that Memorial Day has its roots in the actions of a group of former slaves who, on May, 1, 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina, in gratitude for fighting for their freedom, honored 257 dead Union Soldiers who had been buried in a mass grave in a Confederate prison camp by giving them a proper burial.

And when I quiet those thoughts and think about friends and family who have worn or are wearing our nation’s military uniforms, I know that every one of them celebrates the freedoms we enjoy.  And every one of them, regardless of how they felt or feel about our nation’s military strategies and the morality of any given war, believes that those freedoms are worth protecting.  And so I pause and acknowledge those who have died in uniform and I stand in awe of their sacrifice.  And I pause and grieve with the families of those who have died in uniform.  And I pause and pray for the safety of all people who wear military uniforms and for the day when none need wear a military uniform.  And I trust that, as you do in all things, you are drawing life out of each one of those losses and that you are drawing the world closer to your just peace.

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