Focus Scripture: John 15:13 (NLT) There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Gracious God, on this Memorial Day weekend, we remember and give thanks for those who have given their lives in the service of our country. When the need was greatest, they stepped forward and did their duty to defend the freedoms that we enjoy, and to win the same for others.
O God, you yourself have taught us that no love is greater than that which gives itself for another. These honored dead gave the most precious gift they had, life itself, for loved ones and neighbors, for comrades and country – and for us. Help us to honor their memory by caring for the family members they have left behind, by ensuring that their wounded comrades are properly cared for, by being watchful caretakers of the freedoms for which they gave their lives, and by demanding that no other young men and women follow them to a soldier’s grave unless the reason is worthy and the cause is just.
Holy One, help us to remember that freedom is not free. There are times when its cost is, indeed, dear. Never let us forget those who paid so terrible a price to ensure that freedom would be our legacy. Though their names may fade with the passing of generations, may we never forget what they have done. Help us to be worthy of their sacrifice, O God. Amen.
We lift up the concerns of others today:
- Families around the world.
- Missionaries around the world.
- Veterans returning from combat.
- Those who are persecuted in your name.
- All stewards of the environment.
- Hostages taken during political strife.
- People who are involved in wars of ideology.
- People living in war zones.
- Victims of senseless acts of violence.
- Children who have lost their way.
Gracious God, hear our prayers and answer. Have mercy on your people. Have mercy on your world. Amen
 With Gratitude and Honor: Prayers for Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day, 2008, was written by the Rev. John Gundlach, Minister for Government Chaplaincies, Parish Life and Leadership, UCC.