First, let’s remember…
As the world is rocked with a pandemic combined with cultural, political, economic, and societal unrest, it is entirely appropriate and important that we reflect today on this great nation—even with all its flaws—and marvel at the vision of our founding fathers so long ago.
Let’s remember our history: On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted for independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence. It was largely drafted by Thomas Jefferson. Ever since, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades, and concerts to family gatherings and barbecues. This year’s coronavirus pandemic will undoubtedly put a damper on these celebrations, but hopefully, any gatherings will be done safely.
CLICK HERE to read the Declaration of Independence for yourself. The first two paragraphs will be the most familiar.
Next, let’s count our blessings…
I urge you to stop today and just be grateful for the blessings and liberties we enjoy as citizens of the United States of America. Get out a pen and paper and write them down. Here are just a few to get you started:
- a roof over your head
- food on your table
- freedom of speech
- the right to vote
- the absence of tyranny
- clean water and running water
- freedom to worship the God of your choosing
- a relatively reliable electrical grid
- access to health care
- access to public education
There is still injustice, poverty, and need in this country. We must be vigilant in fighting them and keep reaching out to help and understand others. But whoever you are, wherever you are, you have something for which to be thankful. Never, ever forget that.
Several years ago, my husband and I experienced an incredible drive up the coast of California between Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as visits to Point Reyes National Seashore north of San Francisco and Muir Woods. We enjoyed breathtaking vistas of rugged coastline and walked a trail gazing up at immense redwood trees. The experiences were thrilling and even spiritual. Two songs kept coming to mind: “This Land is Your Land” and “How Great Thou Art.” This trip was the perfect backdrop for reflecting today on this remarkable country.
Next, let’s pray for our country…
Lord God Almighty, you have made all the peoples of the earth for your glory, to serve you in freedom and in peace: Give to the people of our country a zeal for justice and the strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Book of Common Prayer, page 258)
Now, let’s celebrate!
Sing our National Anthem along with this marvelous rendition:
I am certainly thankful for YOU! Please share this post with someone you can’t see in person this July 4.
P.S. Regardless of your denomination, The Book of Common Prayer is a practical, yet spirit-filled resource. It includes the worship liturgies of the Episcopal Church, but its sections of prayers for every occasion include some of the most beautiful in all of Christendom. I commend it highly for a bedside or chairside resource.