Matthew 5:1 – 13
5 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
3 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8 ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Micah 4:1 – 4
In days to come
the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised up above the hills.
Peoples shall stream to it,
and many nations shall come and say:
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.’
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between many peoples,
and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more;
but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees,
and no one shall make them afraid;
for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.
Prayers for peace
God of love,
turn our hearts to your ways;
and give us peace.
We give thanks for the selfless and courageous service and sacrifice of those who brought peace to Europe, and for the good example they have given us; let us bless the Lord.
We pray for nations still devastated by war, for their people and their leaders, and for those who suffer the effects or memories of past wars; for veterans, for those who mourn, and for all innocent victims whose lives have been shattered by the cruelty of others
We give thanks for those who work for peace and liberty throughout the world, for service men and women, and for all who strive to bring an end to injustice and oppression;
We pray for those in our own day who have grown weary or lost hope as a result of violence or terror; for all refugees and displaced people, and for those who seek to address the causes of discord and distrust
We give thanks for the reconciliation of former enemies, for the flourishing of goodwill between them, and for the many blessings we enjoy as a result of the sacrifices which have made for peace
We pray for the young people of our own day and for all who will shape the future of this nation, that they may be inspired by those who have gone before them to serve as they have been served
you are merciful and forgiving.
Grant that those who are suffering the hurts of the past
may experience your generous love.
Heal their memories, comfort them,
and let them find in you renewal and hope;
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Links for further reflection
Links to hymns and songs
‘Beauty for Brokenness’
‘Longing for light, we wait in darkness’
‘Make me a channel of your peace’
Poems marking war’s end
May 8 1945: VE Day
First to Westminster
To hear Churchill
See the Royal Family
Then wandering the streets for hours
With Lafarge and Smitty,
Melzer and O’Reilly
The hot sun beat down
We hobbled on sore feet
Then took off our shoes and jackets
In St.James’s Park
Paddled in the lake.
Lights blazed everywhere:
Like stage sets,
The National Gallery
Piebald with dirt,
The dark lions
Smiling under floodlights.
Along the embankment
And fireboats hurled up
Big Ben struck twelve:
The clock face
We limped back to Addison Road,
Patience Wheatley (Canada)
White galaxies of war graves chalk the way
From Flanders southwards to the Libyan coast.
Quiet neighbours dwelt in the disputed clay
And none of them now cares who won or lost.
Young men who killed each other in the sky
Share narrow churchyards under English yews.
No rhetoric can reach them where they lie,
No commentaries appended to the news.
Yet why should I declare them innocent
And lay the blame upon authority
With eulogies of general extent
Slyly contrived to cover you and me?
We are all guilty. Only, don’t forget
That they have paid and we have not – not yet.
Poems taken from The Voice of War: Poems of World War Two:The Oasis Collection: Poems of the Second World War (1995)