One of the things that I appreciate about small towns in Iowa is the love that we have for our veterans. This morning I attended the Waverly community Memorial Day Observation at our high school.
I was greeted at the front door by a whole slew of smiling Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, as I entered the auditorium I saw pockets of veterans and their families, on the stage the band was playing Sousa marches. A younger veteran sat over in one corner with his service dog. At 10:30 the color guard entered and the program began.
One of the gems of our community is retired Rear Admiral Alvin Koeneman. At one time Al was Chief Chaplain for the entire Navy. He is a graduate of Wartburg college and he spends part of the year in our community, he also serves as chaplain for the VFW.
This morning Reverend Koeneman shared this invocation:
Lord God of all, who gives meaning to history, purpose for today, and hope for the future; we gather to memorialize those whose lives have been given in service to others.
As we honor these today,
past and present,
living and dead,
but especially those who on the altar of human conflict laid their sacrifice for the sake of those who love freedom, and cherish liberty; we seek assurance from you that their sacrifice was not in vain, nor given for empty cause; but rather spent in the service of causes larger than self and for reasons greater than life itself.
We implore you in behalf of our nations committment to the causes of peace across the globe, and for those who work for peace and justice here at home.
We pray for the success of our mutual quest to discover the way to a kinder, more gentle nation for ourselves, and the family of nations around the world.
Where there is dignity and pride,
and justice for all people,
especially the poor, the homeless,
the divided and oppressed for whom today has not meaning,
and the future holds little hope.
By your Spirit, Lord God, link together in one common goal those who are veterans and those who are not, that from this day forth we may be rededicated to the instructive words of your servant Micah;
to love mercy, do kindness, and walk humbly with your God. Amen.
Nearly12 hours later his words refuse to let me go...this is why I am posting Reverend Koeneman's prayer. I'm not a veteran, but I have worked with and for veterans and their families most of my adult life. On behalf of their sacrifice, I am going to seek to live more deeply into this prayer - to be a person of peace, hope and justice here in Waverly and wherever God may send me. Won't you join me?
in Christ, together,