“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.  I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15:9-13

On this Memorial Day I am reminded of the encouragement from Rev. Rebecca McMichael, a UCC Chaplain ministering to the United States Army’s 5th Battalion 52nd Air and Missile Defense.  Rev. McDaniel says, “I think [military life] comes down to sacrificing for something that’s bigger than yourself.”  On this day, Rev. McDaniel encourages the church saying, “Just pray for the soldiers, especially the ones that are deployed,” she said. “Make them part of the pastoral prayer, and if there are soldiers deployed from the congregation, send a card, check in with family members to offer support. For veterans in the congregation, thank them for their service, and pray for them, too.”

The Rev. Stephen Boyd, the UCC Minister for Chaplains offers us this prayer as a guide:

“Today we pause to remember, our comrades in uniform, those whom we have loved and lost while serving our nation.  In our thoughts and prayers may we express our gratitude for their service and respect the cost and sacrifices that each have made.

And in these challenging times O God, inspire us, encourage us and empower us to reach out to our veterans and their families, that through our actions we may pay homage and give due respect to those who have who have given their all.  In your Holy name we pray, Amen.”

Friends, let us take a moment today to take up Rev. McDaniel’s exhortation.  Let us take a moment to offer a prayer, send a card, make a phone call, or visit the final resting place of those who have served their country and community.