Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. Ps. 33:12
My family attended a traditional July 4th concert. The band played the standard patriotic songs and marches, as well as some great movie themes. We stood to sing the National Anthem together and enjoyed the night. This is America.
In Philadelphia, White Supremacy groups were protesting in front of our nation’s most historic and iconic landmarks. This is America.
During the concert, children of difference colors were playing ball together. Watching these children running around, laughing, helping each other and even shaking hands reminded me of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech. This is America.
At the end of the concert, we were treated to a spectacular fireworks display. This is America.
Three of these things were absolutely wonderful. One was horrendous. All of them reflect America today. We can be the best of the best, and, unfortunately, we can be far from our ideals.
In worship, during the “Prayers of the People” I gave thanks to God for the founding and independence of our nation. I thanked God for those who have defended our freedom, and asked safety for those currently doing so. And I thanked God for those who point out our sins as a nation.
The Prayer of Examen is a daily spiritual exercise of praying for God to show us where we went astray – not to beat ourselves up, but to ask forgiveness and pray for the strength to become more of what God wants us to be. This is also a good idea of a nation. We do need to examine those areas where we can bring liberty and justice for all – and do so in a kind fashion.
We must never lose sight of our potential to be a “city on the hill”, and we must never lose sight of our capacity to take our blessings for granted.
As you celebrate, take a moment to give thanks for our nation and ask God to truly bless us.