ANZAC Day Prayer
In your holy presence, loving God,
and in the name of Christ who shared our pain and suffering,
we remember all those whose lives have been caught up in war.
We remember those who went to war –
eagerly, imagining it to be an exciting adventure,
purposefully, convinced they were honouring both God and country,
ambivalently, fearing they were serving country but maybe dishonouring God,
resignedly, believing it to be the lesser of two evils,
reluctantly, conscripted against their personal wishes or beliefs.
We remember before you, loving God, all those –
who in the heat of battle fought with courage and those who fought in terror,
who saw their mates fall around them and felt ashamed that they were spared,
who survived sunken ships, or stricken aircraft, bombs and strafing,
who found themselves prisoners, confined, abused, hungry and tempted by despair.
We remember those who did not survive the conflict
some who never came back home, their bodies resting in foreign cemeteries,
some whose remains were never found and whose burial place is unknown,
some whose bodies were scattered to the winds by high explosives,
and those who made it back home only to soon die and be buried.
We remember before you, loving God,
wives and husbands and sweethearts who never saw their beloved again,
parents, sisters and brothers, whose hearts still ache, even after many years,
children who grow up without a parent whom they still remember dearly,
some who never knew their parent beyond a childish view, and
therefore must cope with the burden of an idealised version.
We remember before you
those who came home physically maimed,
those who came home mentally disordered or crippled,
those who came home spiritually wounded or embittered against God,
and those whose outward smiles hide inner pain which they will bear all their days.
Most loving God, today we do not reflect on the ethical validity of particular wars or battles, but just on the sacrifice and heroism, the horror and the grief, the shame and the glory, that envelopes so many of your children in times of war, and then continues on throughout the long aftermath of war.
Let your holy comfort be with all who still mourn, and your healing be upon all those whose wounds still feel raw, and your guidance be with all who look for justice and peace in the years that lie ahead.
Through Christ Jesus we pray, and in his spirit we face the future.
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From Prewer, Bruce David, Australians at Prayer (2004, Open Book, Adelaide)