Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Prayers, Blessings, and Charges

Today's Centerville Memorial Day Service was a meaningful remembrance of those American service members who gave their lives for our country.

Colonel Bradley McDonald, Installation and 88th Air Base Wing Commander at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, challenged us all to remember, revere, and respond to the sacrifices made by members of the armed forces.

Mayor Brooks Compton also spoke movingly about the significance of the day.

Local high school students sang, read a self-written essay, and presented the moving The America We Love, written by former President Barack Obama.

The Centerville Community Band played Goin' Home, as well as Beautiful Savior and the National Anthem.

Local boy and girl scouts led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Greg Martin piped Amazing Grace and Tom Voss played Taps.

I shared the Invocation and the Benediction for today's gathering. Both are presented below.
We gather in the name of God the Father, God the Son, Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit. Amen 
Father, we come together today to remember those Americans who have given their lives in the cause of freedom. We thank You for their sacrifice and we pray that we, the living, will be worthy of the great cost that they have expended for us. As they were diligent in doing their duty for America, help us to do our duty: to understand the founding principles of this unique and special land--freedom ensured by mutual accountability--and to keep them in mind when we speak and vote and form our opinions; to be informed as citizens; to be good neighbors who understand that, while we may sometimes disagree, we and our fellow citizens all love America. As we remember and celebrate the sacrifices of the fallen, fill us with new resolve to be Americans: committed to our neighbor’s freedom, fighting for others’ well-being as the fallen have done for us, seeking to extend the blessings of the great American constitutional experiment to all of our citizens, and maintaining this unique and blessed land for future generations. Help us in these ways to honor those we remember today. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

It was the height of the Vietnam War and I was in high school. Several of my classmates would go on to fight in that war. An admiral came to speak at an assembly. It was a time when people were saying, "My country, right or wrong." But the admiral said that he didn't subscribe to that view. Instead, he believed, "My country: When right to keep it right, when wrong to make it right." In honor of those who have fallen, we can do no less than to seek, with God's help, to take a similar approach. 
And now, the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. Amen

[Blogger Mark Daniels is pastor of Living Water Lutheran Church in Centerville, Ohio.]

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