Hiroshima Day, 6 August

What words can express the horrors of war?
The atrocity of dropping an atom bomb on Hiroshima?  Nagasaki?
The complicity of citizens?
The heart-wrenching desire to set things more right.
The craving for forgiveness and atonement?

Spirit of Peace, hear our prayer.

“U.S. airman Matthew McGunigle photographed the Hiroshima blast. After the war, he entered a monastery and took a vow of silence.”
— From the narration of the film The Original Child Bomb.

Spirit of Peace, hear our prayer.

‘More people on the earth were born after the tragic moment in 1945 than were alive at the time of the atomic blast. Yet those who died still cry out to heaven and earth, even to those who do not remember the headlines or the news from that day: Let all the souls here rest in peace, for we shall not repeat the evil.’   —These words are inscribed on a stone block at the site of the blast.

Spirit of Peace, hear our prayer.

On this day of remembrance, we remember the dead, the injured, the scarred, the broken lives. In many places paper lanterns will bob on the waters of ponds, lakes and streams, each holding the memory of lives extinguished at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. May the words we choose, carefully reflect our desire to renew our commitment to be peacemakers.

Additional prayers and resources for Hiroshima Day observances:

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Wikipedia image

Let us unite in prayer for peace, regardless of race or nationality.

On August 6th, 1945, an American bomber dropped the world’s first atomic bomb over Hiroshima City. The entire city was devastated by the heat and shock waves of the blast, producing numerous civilian casualties.

On this day, the Peace Memorial Ceremony is held in front of the Hiroshima Peace City Memorial Monument erected in the Peace Memorial Park to appease the souls of those killed by the atomic bomb and to pray for eternal peace on Earth. During this ceremony, the Peace Declaration, appealing for the abolition of nuclear weapons and for the realization of eternal world peace, is delivered by the Mayor of Hiroshima City and is transmitted worldwide.

At 8:15 a.m., which is the exact time when the atomic bomb was dropped, the Peace Bell is rung and citizens, either at the ceremony, at home, or at work offer silent prayers for one minute for the repose of the souls of the atomic bomb victims and for peace.

This text is taken fromclick here.

Like most traumatic scars, the ones that are found in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are permanent:

reminders of the terrible damage human beings can inflict.

Similar scars can be found in the hearts and souls of people around the world who understand this terror:

scars of grief, sadness, fear and even shame.

None of these scars promise an end to war and devastation.

Instead, they serve as a reminder of healing and renewal – of a return to life.

Gracious God, Spirit of Life and Love, help us to see our scars:

those we have created, those we are called to witness, and those we can soothe and heal.

We are deeply grateful for the buds and blossoms that even the most scarred offer as a revelation to the world.

And, especially on the anniversary of Hiroshima Day,

we renew our commitment to peace individually, collectively and globally:

To “peace within” which calms our anxieties and fears,

To “peace between” which overcomes differences, animosities and conflict,

And, to “the great peace,” beyond even our understanding, that is Your gift and which we attempt to be stewards of for the world. Amen.

God, the keeper of the atoms and stars:
You made us collaborators in creation,
but we have pilfered the secrets of ordered existence
and justified their immoral use in the name of “security” and “peace.”
We could say then that we didn’t know the consequences.
Now we do know, but we are complacent and silent.
Lord, have mercy.
We have abused the glue of the universe.
We have made and stockpiled weapons of mass destruction
instead of saying “No” to their use for evil.
Fear and presumption have driven us
to be ready to annihilate untold lives and
make areas of the earth uninhabitable.
Christ, have mercy.
Open our eyes to see how small and fragile the planet is and
how the destruction of any human being diminishes all.
Heal the wounds opened with the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Mend the fabric of the human family.
Will in us never to repeat this evil.
Lord, have mercy.

For this prayer and other worship resources for Hiroshima Day provided by the Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church, USA click here.

This liturgy was written for midday prayers at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland. It may be reproduced and adapted for local usage.   More resources are available here from the World Council of Churches


We gather in silence.
As we gather we listen to the gong/bell, calling us to remember, calling us to pray and act for peace.
A gong or bell resounds, slowly, respectfully.
Blessed is our God, now and unto the ages of ages.
Blessed is our God, now and unto the ages of ages.
Blessed is our God,
who grants us peace and is the source of all peace.
Blessed are the peacemakers
for they shall be called children of God.

Loving God, you create and sustain all that is good and beautiful;
You give life to the earth.
You have called us to wholeness; to the fullness of life
But, as we gather here, we are conscious of our brokenness
Both as persons and as communities.
We have heard the cries for justice and peace
From all the corners of the earth.
We are moved by the tears, the pain and the agonies
of millions around the world.
We sense the dark clouds of war that creep over us;
We sit in the shadow of death.

Help us to fall on our knees and to cry for that vision of unity
Without which we would perish.
Teach us not to deal with others falsely,
Saying “peace, peace” when there is no peace.
Grant us grace that we may walk
In the paths of righteousness.
Bring us to yourself, that our hearts and minds
May discern the way of peace shown by [Jesus].
For you alone have been our help in ages past,
And you are our shelter in the years ahead.


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