A Prayer For Today’s Soldiers

Andrews Barracks flag and chapel – 1971.

Dear Lord,

You forgave the soldiers who crucified You.  You forgave the political leaders who broke their own laws in their rush to judge You.  You forgave the religious leaders who in their desire to be rid of You violated the trust that their community placed in them.  You forgave the fickle in the crowd who cheered You one day and mocked You the next.

Now, Lord, we ask for that same forgiveness.  You know what moral dilemmas we weigh.  You are there when a soldier looks into the eyes of a refugee dying on the wire and must turn away.  You are there when political leaders struggle with seeming “no win” situations.  You are there when religious leaders are tempted to use faith as a weapon to gain earthly power.  It is easy for us to see when evil marches under some one else’s banner.  Help us to forgive them.  Help us now to see when that happens under our own flag.  Help us to forgive ourselves.

When we are alone in the darkest hour of our watch, You stand guard there with us, because you know of our weakness. — When we raise the flag in the morning, we pray that it be unstained by decisions we have made in darkness. — When we pass it at noon, we pray that it waves as an invitation to seekers of all faiths to safely gather round it. — When we fold it away at sunset, we pray that in our day we have made it a symbol of courage – civil courage, military courage, yes, but above all, moral courage.

Lord, You must be smiling at our bold request, but is this not just a fraction of what you shared with us on Calvary?


Written by R. W. Rynerson for Easter 2004, looking back to Berlin 1969-71 and ahead to the anticipated situations to be faced by another generation in the Middle East.