Today, I found out that an old friend, who I lost contact with, died last summer. He started out as a friend of my dad’s. As time went on he and I got close. We went on many fishing and hunting trips together.  He taught me how to shoot a pistol.  He taught me alot about integrity and humility.  He was one adult who knew about my sense of call to ministry. He, after a long and distinguished career in the U.S. Army, became a CME minister like his father. (You can read his story here: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=75472780).

So tomorrow, Veterans Day, i’ll pray this prayer, and remember my friend Spence. [Command Sgt. Major Spencer L. Gilliard]

O God, we give you thanks today for our nation’s veterans.
We honor them for their faithful service to our country,
and for what they have done
to defend and preserve our freedom.
Generation after generation,
young men and women
have answered our country’s call,
and their lives have been changed forever.
We are grateful to all who have served,
whether in peacetime or in conflict.
But today we especially remember
those who have been tempered by fire,
those who continue to bear wounds
of the body or the spirit
as a result of what they endured.
They lie in our veterans’ hospitals
or struggle for recovery in rehabilitation centers;
they suffer from post-traumatic stress
and survivor’ guilt;
they yearn for peace in their souls.
Dear God, we ask you to heal their wounds,
to banish whatever inner demons may haunt them,
and to give them peace within
so they may return fully to their families and to society.
We thank you, God, for all of our country’s veterans
—those of past generations,
and those who continue to earn this title today.
May we never forget what our country has asked of them
and what they have given in return.
Help us to give them the respect and honor they are due.
And strengthen our resolve
to build a world modeled on your realm,
where war will be pursued no more.
This we ask in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Amen.

[from UCC Worship Ways, “With Gratitude and Honor” 2008]

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