The following prayer was not in fact written with Remembrance Sunday in mind. It was originally produced to accompany a series of Bible studies which reflected on the importance of the word ‘today’ in the Gospel of Luke. At key points in this Gospel the word ‘today’ appears, stressing both the urgency of Jesus’ actions, and also the way that the life of Christ needs to be interpreted in the context of both the past and the future.
However due to a set of fortunate coincidences, Simone Meyer, a member of Holy Trinity Church, Geneva, suggested using this prayer as part of the intercessions for Remembrance Sunday 2018, where it seemed to be appreciated. In fact it also fits quite well with this year’s suggested lectionary Gospel reading for Remembrance Sunday, Luke 20.27-38, which clearly speaks of God as the one who transcends the normal boundaries of time. So the prayer is offered for this purpose again, with its final stanza a deliberate reminder that what we do ‘today’ will affect our, and our children’s, tomorrows.
Faithful father, minder of our yesterdays,
We thank you for your blessing and cherishing,
For your care which has brought us and all creation to this day.
Forgive the failings of our past,
the false steps and paths that we have taken
in our lives and in our histories,
As individuals, as nations, as members of your own people.
Grant us the courage not to forget,
Not to stifle the sounds of suffering in which we have been complicit;
Encourage us also to trust in your power to redeem,
Your willingness to work with flawed humanity and re-create an earth
Which all can celebrate with you as truly good.
Holy Spirit, hope for our tomorrows,
Grant us vision of the future of this world as you would have it be.
Inspire us with your power and grace us with your gifts and fruits –
Love, joy and peace, generosity and gentleness,
Faithfulness and kindness, patience and self-control.
May they become seeds in us, taking root deep within our lives,
Starting-points for change and growth.
Speak into the divisions and hatreds of these days,
In the turmoil, open our ears to catch your quiet breath,
And give us voice to echo your aching and longing for the promised time,
When in communion with you true life and freedom will be shared by all.
Christ, comforter yet challenger of our todays,
You are the beginning and end of creation,
Drawing together past and future,
Threading them into the texture of the present.
Through your life and ministry you showed us the importance of ‘today’,
Of carrying out God’s mission in the world of here and now.
You did not allow yourself to be bound by time past
Nor await impassive for an unseen future.
Still, today, you do not let us stand aside and delay,
But urgently you offer us both salvation and judgement.
You demand that we choose, and invite us to work with you
To accomplish God’s purpose, yesterday, for ever and today. Amen.
The visit made by the 2018-2019 diocesan Ministry Experience Scheme interns to the First World War graves in Ypres in March 2019 made a deep impression on those who participated.