This past Sunday, we re-dedicated the peace pole in front of our church, and blessed a thousand peace cranes we folded and sent to a nearby Ukrainian Orthodox congregation. Here is the prayer of blessing:
O Sovereign God, by whom empires rise and fall, yet in whose eyes, even the fall of a sparrow is significant, hear our prayer for peace. Clear our minds and calm our thoughts: that we might put the world in perspective, that we might look to you for our strength and salvation, and that we might not surrender to faithless fear.
Though we do not know how to pray as we ought during times of violence, we know that your Spirit is praying through us, reaching out to you through our troubled spirits. We thank you that the signs of your help are not just spiritual, but that you have given us tangible ways to be peacemakers. Through our participation in offerings that help victims of war, we pray that we can make a difference.
We pray, too, that this renovated peace pole can symbolize to our community that peace is possible, and that ours is a faith that promotes peace. We re-dedicate it to you and pray that it will make a difference to all who walk or drive past it. May their curiosity at its beauty remind them that a new way of thinking is possible.
We thank you for all those in our circle of friends who thoughtfully fold peace cranes, each one a different prayer for an end to violence and conflict. Today we ask you to bless a thousand more of these beautiful symbols as we send them on to Saint Vladimir’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church. May our prayers unite with theirs; may these prayers rise to you as sweet incense; and may your love and power bring peace to Ukraine and peace to our world.
All these prayers we offer to you in the Name of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. Amen.