We gather this Memorial Weekend with persons all over our nation to remember those who make great sacrifices in service to their country and to pray for God’s promised peace.
The 3rd Saturday of May is Armed Forces Day. It is set aside to honor men and women who currently serve in the United States Military. While we remember them throughout the year, we will especially remember them today.
The last Monday in May is Memorial Day. It is set aside to honor military service members who died while serving in the military. It was first called Decoration Day because graves were decorated with flowers and flags. It was changed to Memorial Day to put the emphasis on the fallen, not the graves. We will also remember them today.
November 11th is Veterans Day. It is set aside to honor all who served in the military, living or dead. We will set aside time in November to honor them, thank them, and remember them.
Jesus, we hear your words, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13 NRSV)
Please turn to the list in your program as we honor those who are currently serving as active duty military or as reservists.
Read the list
If you know of anyone else currently serving in the Armed Forces, please speak their names now that we may honor and bless them as well.
Pause as persons respond
Almighty God, we are grateful for those who are willing to sacrifice and to serve. Strengthen the men and women mentioned here today and all who risk their lives to protect others. Help all military personnel to serve with honor, wisdom, and compassion. Guard them against hard-heartedness, despair, and evil. Strengthen and bless their families, especially when they are separated one from another. Surround them with your protection, your grace, and your peace.
A person enters with a large, lit, white candle. If possible, consider using a service member in uniform.
Let us pause for a moment of silence as we remember and honor those who died while serving their country in the armed forces.
Moment of Silence
Merciful God, we recognize those who made the ultimate sacrifice, putting the welfare of others ahead of their own safety. We are grateful and humbled by their actions. Strengthen and comfort their friends and family members as they remember and grieve. Amen
READER ONE: Micah 4:1-4 NRSV
Hear these words of promise and hope from the prophet Micah.
In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised up above the hills. Peoples shall stream to it, and many nations shall come and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.
God of Love, it is your will for the nations to seek you and to know you.
It is your will for us live together in peace, provision, and equity.
Forgive us our warring ways.
End the selfishness and corruption.
End the mistrust and misinformation.
End the violence.
Bring wholeness and hope to every system, relationship, and person broken by war.
Show us where we can join you in your great work of peace.
Give us the courage to act and your wisdom to know what to do.
We ask this in the strong name of Jesus
The Savior of the World,
The Lord of All,
The Prince of Peace…
Conclude singing Let There Be Peace on Earth
Prayers Remembering Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day
© 2016 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.