“Let us pray,” the minister mumbled into the microphone. Here we go, I thought, another tired old prayer on Remembrance Day.
But this prayer was different.
“Great Father of us all,” the minister began, his voice rising, “We, your suffering children, come to you in our embarrassment and shame to say how sorry we are for all the death and misery you’ve had to witness for yet another horribly violent year. And here we are on Remembrance Day, sorry yet again that we have to put you through the same old routine: we march, we cry and we pray, and we get terribly serious about the horrors of war and we seek your comfort for the bereaved – but nothing changes. Year after year it’s the same; we never bring you good news, only bad.”
“We think of you shaking your head at our blindness, because you told us in your word how wars happen, but do we see it? You’ve given us warning and wisdom like a good Father should, but do we heed it? You told us what to do when evil threatens, but have we listened? You told us of powers much greater than ours we can trust in, but have we believed you? You told us you sent your Son to bring us peace, but are we interested? So now you have to watch us shuffle off home for another year, and we’re none the wiser, as usual. And we’ll be back at this time next year too, with more sad stories to tell you of those who died in wars, and our helplessness in protecting the innocent – as if you haven’t heard enough of such stories already.”
“What must it be like to be a Father to children like us? Could we ask you, therefore, to do something for us, that would bring some joy to this day instead? Could you give us the sense this year to go home and read what you wrote about peace and for you, then, to help us understand and believe it, so that next year we can come to you with different stories, of the courage you gave us to try your way, and how surprised we were by its success.”
“And could you really bless those who are seeking peace your way? Those who, this coming year, take up your offer and your challenge to be living proof now of your promise that peace will reign on this amazing planet you created.”
“In conclusion, we humbly seek your forgiveness and boldly seek your power, dear Father, because we, your struggling children, are in desperate need of help.”