Particularly for pastors: a friend who pastors a small Evangelical church nearby writes in response to Memorial Gratitude , my reflection on the difficulty some of us have in feeling the kind of gratitude that soldiers deserve:
I tried something in church on the Sunday before Memorial Day that might offer a kind of an answer to your dilemma. I, too, have trouble being moved by the general, parade-passing-by moment, so I began our prayer time by asking the congregation to share the specific name of a soldier they knew with a few people around them. Living, dead, wounded, it didn’t matter. It just needed to be somebody real.
And then, during the prayer time, itself, I invited folks to just say out the name of that person so all could hear. And anything else they cared to add. It started slowly a name here, a name there, but then it started to snowball, and names just poured out, round the room. And that’s when I think it became genuine.
It was more than an exercise, the thing you do because you have to do something on that weekend. You could really hear the grief and the gratitude. All because it had become so specific.