On the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year our country remembers with gratitude all those who have given their lives in service of the nation.
As it happens, November 11 had already been commemorated for centuries before the 1918 armistice as the day St. Martin, patron saint of soldiers. Martin of Tours, who lived in the 4th century, was a Roman soldier who became a conscientious objector because of his new Christian faith. A famous story tells of how he encountered a beggar shivering in the street. He drew his sword and cut his warm military-issue cloak in half in order to share with the poor man. Eventually Martin became a champion of Christ, a defender of the poor, and a peacemaker.
On his day, November 11, we remember all those who have laid down their lives in service of their country. We pray for peace, and an end to all violence and bloodshed. And we renew our own commitment to bring to the world the peace of Christ which passes all understanding.
Give wisdom and courage to government leaders and all who work to improve international relationships. Grant they may find the true way to reconcile people of all races, colours and creeds, that all may have justice, freedom, peace and security.
Reveal your steadfast love to all who suffer as a result of war: the injured and the disabled, the mentally distressed, those who have lost their livelihood and security, and those whose faith in God and humanity has been weakened or destroyed.
We pray for refugees and migrants, for the homeless and the hungry and for all who mourn the death of loved ones.. Guard in your loving care all who need your healing touch.
We give thanks for those who have died in the faith. Give us joy in knowing that our Redeemer lives, and that we will be united with the faithful in a resurrection like his. Especially we thank you for Martin of Tours and all those who have given their lives in our country’s wars of the past century.
Eternal God, we give thanks for all those who have shown the greatest love by laying down their lives for others. We especially thank you for those in our military throughout history who have sacrificed their lives for their fellow citizens and for us who came after. As we remember their service, keep us mindful of all those for whom this day is a burden, and send your spirit of comfort to them. Be present with all the women and men who are serving in the military today. Let them live for the peace known only from you. Help us to be worthy of their legacy, and keep us mindful of their service, that in all things we may live our lives in praise and thanksgiving to you.
Into your care, Alpha and Omega, we entrust all for whom we pray. Be with us now and always, through Jesus Christ our Lord.