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Peace Invocation on Memorial Day (Guest Post)

June 4, 2010

by Ed Snyder, FCNL’s Executive Secretary Emeritus

Mac Bigelow, minister at the Union Church of Northeast Harbor, and a dedicated pacifist, was asked to give the Invocation at this year’s Memorial Day Service at Northeast Harbor.  It is a remarkable statement, especially given the context of flags and uniformed veterans, and worth repeating on many occasions.  Here it is:

Creator Spirit, God of all people, all races, all nations, we remember and honor before You those who have died in the pursuit of high ideals. . . .
but dare we ask for Your presence in this gathering today?
We come together remembering but not remembering, seeing but not seeing.
Our hearts are broken.
We have forgotten what our mothers taught us.
We have killed one another as a way of trying to resolve our conflicts.
We are still killing one another imagining that this will resolve our conflicts.
Forgive us, O God:
for failing to live together as your people, for failing to love those we do  not understand, for justifying our own violence while condemning the violence of others.
Forgive us for failing to resolve our conflicts with humility, patience, and creativity.
Forgive us when our love and loyalty stop at our own borders; and for imagining that we could ever ask You to bless our warfare with one another.

Restore in us our capacity for tears, our capacity for compassion.
Have mercy on us, O God.  Turn us around.  Wake us up.
And move us closer to that day when the killing of one person by another as a way of attempting to resolve our conflicts will never be admired or chosen; and we will have at last learned the wisdom and skills necessary for living together in all our marvelous variety one people, Your family all.

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