I was kindly invited by our local RBL group to be involved in an outdoor service marking the 100th anniversary of the Royal British Legion last weekend, along with some of my church leader friends from the town. The service began with a prayer from the Parish Priest and a great sermon from the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian minister. It also included the unveiling of an installation of “Tommy” figures representing the soldiers who survived the First World War, remembering their friends who died.
Here’s the prayer I used for their dedication, adapted from a resource of the Church of England:
your Son proclaimed your peaceable Kingdom
in both word and deed,
open our hearts and minds, we pray,
to receive his Easter gift of peace.
May these figures in this space
remind us of the cost of war
that destroys lives, homes and communities;
But may they also remind us of
the value of serving others, just as Jesus laid down his life for us;
the hope of reconciliation, just as Jesus came to restore our relationship with you God,
and the new life that comes when peace rules our hearts, just as Jesus brings his peace that passes understanding.
And as we seek to witness to your purpose of peace,
give us generosity of spirit in times of disagreement,
patience in times of difficulty,
the desire to pray for those who oppose us,
and above all make us to be interpreters and bridge-builders
between those who are at enmity.
This we ask in the name of Christ
who has destroyed every wall that divides us,
and whose sacrifice has made our peace with you,
the Father of all humankind.
Fill us with your Holy Spirit, O Lord, that we
may be ambassadors for Christ and
messengers of your reconciling love.