Tag Archives: commemorate

Sad Prayers of Remembrance

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, November 10, 2016


Sad Prayers of Remembrance

The past two weeks have certainly been a roller-coaster of emotion. The Cubs. (Need I say any more, as a life-long Cubs fan?) The United States election. (Whatever your position, or your candidate, this long election cycle has been particularly nasty.) And now, November 11, Veterans Day, right after the anniversary of Kristallnacht on November 9 and 10.

I don’t want to belittle either—or any of these feelings of sheer joy and excitement, or these raw, searing emotions of grief, bewilderment and stunned silence.

Remember. We remember.

However—just in case anyone is wondering why we observe Veterans Day on November 11, we need to go back to Armistice Day, the cessation of hostilities ending World War I on that date in 1918. Hostilities formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.”

Called originally Armistice Day, it is also known as Remembrance Day, when those in the Commonwealth countries (formerly or still associated with Great Britain) remember those military personnel who died in the line of duty. And, just as here in the United States, red poppies are symbols of remembrance. (From Lt. Col.John McCrae’s poem “On Flanders Field.”)

We remember. Many remember or commemorate the horrific happenings of Kristallnacht, where there was such wanton violence against Jews throughout Germany and Austria. Kristallnacht, or “Night of the Broken Glass” was when the isolated intimidation and persecution of Jews in the Nazi-occupied areas became pointed, systematic and crushing. A sea change moment.

Veteran’s Day here in the United States is a day to commemorate all veterans. We pray for all those who have died, in uniform. All over the world. They all had mothers. They all were babies, and young children, and had hopes and dreams and fears. No matter where they came from, or where these people served their military forces. God bless them all. God bless their memory. And, may God’s blessing and care rest on all those who remember, today, too.


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Passing Through – Sojourners and Strangers

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, November 23, 2013

The last Sunday of this liturgical year is at hand. Tomorrow, the church where I worship celebrates a special Sunday. This church is steeped in both the Lutheran and the German Reformed traditions, so tomorrow is “Totenfest,” or the day the church remembers all members (and in some churches, friends of the church, too) who have died since the last Sunday of the liturgical year, 2012.

So the church remembers. The recently departed are still fresh in many people’s memories. But not only people depart. The year departs, too. The close of November is the close of the growing season, where the growing things out of doors lose their leaves, shrivel, dry up. Or, go into hibernation and stasis, until the spring comes again. This is a quiet season, a contemplative time. So it is with Totenfest tomorrow, too.

Psalm 39:4 says, “Lord, let me know my end, and what is the measure of my days.” Such sober thoughts are a bit challenging. Not the first verses suggested for beginners at this business of prayer and meditation. However, this season and tomorrow’s commemoration of Totenfest encourage us to meditate on verses like these.

Perhaps a verse from the Apostle Paul will be more accessible. “For we are well aware that when the tent that houses us on earth is folded up, there is a house for us from God, not made by human hands but everlasting, in the heavens.” (2 Cor 5:1) Here, Paul talks about our temporary housing, the tent that can (and will) be easily disassembled. We can meditate on the time when our measure of days comes to an end, and look forward to that house from God, where we will dwell with our God forever. No longer sojourners, passing through. We’ll have a real home-coming, to our everlasting, heavenly home.

Let’s pray. Dear God, we remember those who have passed through this life, especially those who died this past year. We celebrate their life and commemorate their blessed memory. We pray for those who mourn, who grieve not only the passing of loved ones, but the passing of the year. Help us to remember that our measure of days is in Your hand, and that You will surely welcome us into our everlasting, heavenly home. In Your mercy and peace we pray, Amen.