Tomorrow is Veterans Day and this year it will be a bit more personally significant to me, a bit more tender to the good folks at San Clemente Presbyterian Church. Veterans Day is always an opportunity to remember the military service of those who have secured our freedom. Usually on Veterans day we ask our Veterans and active military personnel to stand. And sure enough we have many both active Marines who are serving at Camp Pendleton and a number of Veterans from wars and conflicts past in our midst.
But on Sunday--right in the middle of a series on "astonishing generosity"--we'll be remembering in prayer and asking God's comfort for the families of two men whom we didn't know personally but were part of us. Two members of the 1st Combat Engineers Battalion (a group that we have "adopted" to serve at Camp Pendleton) lost their lives recently in Iraq: Cpl Jose Galvin from San Antonio TX and Cpl Kyle Powell from Colorado Springs, who offered themselves in the most costly and generous service.
Our prayers are with Lt. Col. Wayne Sinclair, the commanding officer of the 1st CEB and all of the families. And we pray with deeper gratitude, and even a bit more earnestness for our other friends and family members who remain in or will soon again be harms way.
I'll close by offering to us this prayer, adapted by my friend, Mark Roberts for Veterans Day. (Mark offers an excellent post of appreciation and critique of a similar prayer at our PCUSA website. Thanks Mark.)
God of the ages,
We thank You for all who have served in the armed forces of this country.
We thank You for the freedom their sacrifice has earned and guarded for us. Help us to prize this freedom and use it well.
We ask You to bless all living veterans in a special way today, as well as the families of all veterans.
Comfort those who grieve for those who gave the last full measure of devotion.
Strengthen those who bear physical, emotional, and spiritual wounds.
Stand with those who provide care to them.
Move us to reach out to sisters and brothers who are veterans, or relatives of veterans, or who currently serve in the military.
We pray for the day when no one needs to serve in the military. Help us to live now in anticipation of that day, as people who long for peace, who pray for peace, and who seek to be peacemakers in this world.
We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.