Dear friends in Christ,
This weekend, the United States celebrates its Independence Day. For the Episcopal Church, this is a major feast day. Our prayer book permits the use of a beautiful collect for the occasion:
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.
I love how the collect encourages us to see all the peoples of the earth as one people. But also, we are urged to use our liberty in accordance with God’s will, not for our own wants and desires.
Certainly, I am grateful to live in the United States. Our country has much to celebrate and to be proud of. We also have plenty of challenges and sins from which we must repent. I hope as we celebrate the founding of this nation, we can also commit to a zeal for justice. Wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone in the country were treated with dignity and respect?
It seems to be that patriotism means both gratitude for our nation and the willingness to challenge it to be better.
What about the United States are you grateful for? And what do you think we can do better as a nation? May God grant us strength and courage to have a zeal for justice.
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