Once again I was honored to deliver the benediction at the Pawling Memorial Day Parade and Commemoration Ceremony.
Our Father, before whom we, of many nations, ethnicities, cultures, and traditions, are together, one and all, your children and the family of man, we regret that our sinful rebellion has caused war and schism, violence and destruction resulting in the suffering and death of countless of our brothers and sisters, each one your child and a precious soul. Forgive us, Lord, our rebellion, for Jesus’ sake, and turn us in repentance, that we might forgive as we have been forgiven, give as we have been given to, and bless as we have richly and abundantly been the recipients of your blessing. May your peace, established with man through your Son, affect peace amongst us, your children, that your Name be glorified in our love for each other, to the ends of the earth.
Nevertheless, you have established governments and you have given them authority to reward those who do good and to punish those who do evil. And, under that sword you have raised up men and women who have served our nation to protect and to defend Her from those who would destroy Her, and countless of these have laid down their lives in sacrificial death that we may live in freedom and peace.
We give thanks to you for these martyrs who loved freedom, who loved us, more than they loved their own lives. We thank you for the example of selfless, sacrificial love they remain for us, a love best exemplified in your own selfless, sacrificial love for all the world in your Son. Bless us with your Spirit and make of us brothers and sisters and neighbors worthy of their blood and their love by empowering us to lay down our selfishness for the sake of our brothers and sisters and neighbors in need, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, culture, or tradition.
And, especially on this day, our Father, in which we remember those who have sacrificed themselves for us, we do not forgot those who even now suffer their loss, and those who have selflessly placed themselves in the gap for us at this present time. Protect these under the shadow of your wing and comfort them in their separation. Bless them with your Spirit and let them know our love and thanksgiving for them. In accordance with your good and gracious will, see them safely home and provide for the needs of their families while they are away.
Lord, bless us and keep us. Lord, make your face to shine upon us and be gracious to us. Lord, lift up your countenance upon us, and give us your peace.
In the + Name of Jesus. Amen.