As I was walking in New York City on a sultry evening last July 4th, I came upon a church surrounded by a wrought iron fence covered in gold, blue and green ribbons.
The fence surrounds Marble Collegiate Church. A sign in front of the church states that on March 19, 2006, the third anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq, the congregation and friends of the church began hanging these ribbons on the fence.
The gold ribbons represent prayers for the thousands of U.S. service people killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and prayers for their families and loved ones. Each gold ribbon bears the name of a soldier. Every Sunday as part of the worship service, the congregation prays by name for each service person lost that week, and then adds their ribbon to the fence.
The blue ribbons represent prayers for the tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghanis who have lost their lives, for their families and friends, and for all who have been wounded.
The green ribbons represent prayers for peace.
When I read the topic for this week’s photo challenge, I thought of these photos. I thought of the members of this church who every week bear witness to the sacrifice of human lives, and speak the names of those who are lost. And I thought of the invitation their ribbons and their sign offers to passersby:
“We continue to pray daily. We pray for the wounded. We pray for the day that war is no longer an option.
Will you pray with us?”