We invite you to pray with us this week.
Loving God, you who are closer to us than the internal beat of our heart, on this Memorial Day weekend, when the usual cheers of the crowds and the sounds of the pipes from the Brooklyn Memorial Day parade have been silenced, we come before your throne of grace in remembrance.
We remember and are grateful before you today, God, for all those in our armed services, down through the years, who have made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives for our country and to protect our freedom. Grant them eternal peace and joy in your kingdom, and comfort their loves ones in their grief and loss. And enhance healing for all those struggling to overcome injuries received in combat.
We remember, too, especially in this time of pandemic throughout the world, all those who have lost their fight against this virus, some 325,000 souls and counting, including close to 100,000 Americans, whose lives have ended prematurely. Receive them, O God, into the gates of heaven. And as you’ve been with them in death, continue to walk with their family members through the valley of the shadow, filled with pain and heartbreak.
We remember, too, this weekend all those in our world who are still engaged in battle along the frontlines of this epidemic. We give thanks for, and marvel at the courage of, doctors and nurses in our hospitals, those cleaning the rooms and preparing food in healthcare facilities, caregivers and administrative staff in nursing homes, EMTs, police and firefighters, all engaging in hazardous forms of service on behalf of the sick and the dying. Lord, grant them stamina and strength for the living of these days, and keep them safe from harm.
We also pause to remember those deemed essential workers in our world, who too are risking their lives to help keep society functioning. Those working in grocery stores and meatpacking plants, those driving buses and delivery vans, subway train conductors and those disinfecting the cars in the dead of night, utility employees helping to keep our power on and our water flowing, TSA personnel and baggage workers, pilots and flight attendants working to keep our airports open and planes flying. For these and countless other hidden heroes, we give you thanks, O God. Hover over them, Lord, and keep them well.
And finally, we remember this day all those who have lost their jobs in this pandemic and now face an uncertain future. We see their worried faces in the long lines snaking for miles at food banks scattered around the country, and our hearts go out to all faced with the potential of financial disaster, for them and their families. Help us, God, to find the collective will to do the things that are needed to help hurting persons stay afloat and rebuild their lives in the days to come.
May this pandemic, which is stressing our coping capabilities both individually and as a nation, find us, at the end of the day, as a country that met the challenge of being a compassionate people, who cared for the very “least of these” in their hour of need.
All these things we lift before you, God, this day, in remembrance of the One who gave his life that others may live, the One whose love death could not contain, even Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord, who taught his disciples to pray together, saying…
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
The Rev. Randy Weber, associate pastor emeritus, offered these Prayers of the People on May 24, 2020, the Seventh Sunday of Easter.