Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Navy Farewell

My "little" brother just retired from the Navy. There was a formal and very moving ceremony, full of beautiful symbolsim. Since my husband, the minister, was unable to attend, I was incredibly honored to be asked to give the invocation & benediction. I've never done this before! My brother said there are certain points usually made in the prayer (for the transition, family etc). I did some research and got a general idea, and then let the Lord lead me in writing the prayers.

Military pageantry is profound and rich with meaning. There were very few dry eyes in the auditorium. I choked up & it was a struggle to keep my composure because...

My three brothers are much younger than I. I was an impressionable teenager during the Vietnam war in which my cousins served. As my little brothers were growing up, I worried so much that they would be drafted. By the time they were of age, the draft had long since ended; yet, two of them enlisted anyway. That why, as I prayed at this ceremony, I was overcome with pride and even more so, with heartfelt gratitude.


This bell has special significance during the ceremony.



I share these, not boastfully, but as a remembrance of that special day and as a prayer for all those serving our nation.


{invocation}


Lord, it is with very thankful hearts that we are gathered here today, family & friends, to celebrate this significant occasion. We are priveleged to recognize this man's faithful and honorable service to his country.



Thank you that every moment of these past twenty-two years, You were right there - leading him, guiding him, and protecting him - even when he didn't realize it. Because of Your faithfulness, he is now safely ashore.



Thank You for giving his family the grace to bear the sacrifices they were called upon to make. You have been their anchor, and their front and rear guard, just as You have been his.

As we celebrate the completion of his service, we pray Your continual protection over all the men and women of our armed forces.



Now we ask your blessing on this day, in Jesus' name. Amen.




{benediction}

Father, a new dawn awaits (T&C) and their family. As they step onto the path of this new journey together, we ask that Your grace continues to cover them.


May they take with them the best of these last years and leave the rest in Your hands.

We pray (T) would have the joy of good memories; and healing in areas known only to You and him.


(T) when you stand before God, I believe he will say to you: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."


Lord, we join together now in faith to ask Your blessing on (T&C), give them grace and mercy, wisdom and good health, and prosper all they put their hands to. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.



(T. gathered his wife & children and "left the boat" symbolically for the last time, while receiving & giving a final salute to the sailors who lined the aisle.)

1 comment:

Debbie said...

Connie: Reading your blog was very moving and I didn't attend the ceremony so I am sure words can't adequately describe the emotion and joy you felt! Thanks for sharing! Deb