A Pastor’s Prayer Encompassing Some Memorial Day Thoughts

May 27, 2013

A Memorial Day Prayer
In this prayer, Rev. Dick Kozelka, who served as pastor of First Congregational Church of Minneapolis, Minnesota for 17 years,  asks God to”lift the hearts of those for whom this holiday is not just diversion, but painful memory and continued deprivation.” The prayer shows keen awareness of these two aspects of losing a loved one, memories and missing— a sense of being deprived of the company of the one no longer present. At the same time, the prayer refers to profound questions about death, along with faith in God’s compassion and comfort in the midst of our many questions.

Related. Pastor Kozelka died in 2009. The scripture he had chosen to be read at his own memorial service emphasized that we have the treasure of God’s revelation “in earthen
vessels.” When Rev. Jim Nelson spoke on that scripture at the service, he emphasized the implications of the passage and said, “God does not choose angels, but finite, limited human beings as vehicles for her revelation. Because we have this treasure in earthen vessels, the Christian faith must be inclusive.” He spoke of how Pastor Kozelka had worked hard “to make the church inclusive of every color, and for women as clergy, and for lesbians and gay men, and for those who found patriotism not only in allegiance, but also at times as members of the loyal opposition.” You can read the whole celebration of Pastor Kozelka’s life here. His obituary in the Minnespolis Star Tribune also emphasized his work for Civil Rights and inclusiveness.

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni (1935-2024) was an independent scholar, writer, and editor, and the author or coauthor of nine books. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992). Letha served as editor of Christian Feminism Today in both its former print edition (EEWC Update) and its website for 19 years until her retirement in December 2013.


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