Sunday, July 03, 2016

A Prayer for Independence Day

God of all the nations, yours is a Name above all other names and you rest majestically beyond all earthly realms, yet you assure us of Your interest in the ordering of our daily lives.

You have instituted government for the good of all people. You have also regularly warned your people that governments, of all things you have given us, are likely to be deified (1 Samuel 8).

On this Independence Day, where can we turn for help except to You, O Lord, we who sin so regularly when we corrupt even the best things you give?

We pray we are not so entrenched in our ideologies and self-interest that we fail to perceive the ways we do not live up to the democracy we claim as our heritage. We pray that our race or class or power keep us from pursuing truly what is the common good of all. We hope as citizens not to dismiss reasoned discussion of the common good in favor of our own entitlements.

The many issues we face imperil us--they also give us opportunity to serve one another and sacrifice for the greater good. You have blessed us with the chance to be wise stewards, to act for justice even when it is difficult.

It may be, Lord, that we must be even more divided, more split along party lines, before we we can be healed. We all know how strangely we are split, how immoderately we fight for our own narrowly held perceived majority.

Chasten us that we might be a blessing. It is too small a thing that we might be a blessing only to ourselves (Isaiah 49:6). Give us hope and a measure of your Spirit. Give us the humility to learn from our neighbors, and be neighbors of the world (Isaiah 45:1).

Give to all our leaders, of every branch of government, wisdom beyond their own insights. Make their hearts and minds large enough for friends and foes alike, always in pursuit of the good only you can bring.

1 Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD guards the city,
the guard keeps watch in vain. 

2 It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives sleep to his beloved. (Psalm 127)

We ask this for the United States of America, according to Your mercy, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

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