A Prayer for the Nation on the 4th of July

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Good and gracious God,

As we celebrate the birth of our nation,
we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge
how divided we are.
We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge
the ways in which we are no longer
“one nation,” as we profess in our pledge,
but rather two nations… or three, or four.

We must only observe the latest legislation
to clearly see, the system no longer looks
to the common good as a baseline for its actions.
“Of, for and by the people,” seems to be a long forgotten idiom,
a pleasant thought which no longer plays the role of rudder
for this great nation.

So, we pause today and lift up a family divided.
We lift up a nation that needs healing.
Call us back to our founding principles
of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Remind us of our founding moral standard
that all people are created equally
and deserve equal treatment under the law
regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation,
religion (or lack thereof), job status,
or any number of the other realities of life
which we use to divide and marginalize others.

Reminded us that these principles not only
guide us toward a healthier nation
but they point to a justice many of our founding fathers
understood to be rooted in the best parts of their religion.
Teach us that none of us are truly free
until all of us are truly free –
free from the bonds of inequality,
free from the shackles of a job that barely makes ends meet,
free from a healthcare system that puts a poor person
in the back of the line, if they are allowed in the line at all,
free from worrying about whether you will feed your children tonight,
free to make your own choices about your own body,
free to organize with others to provide for better work conditions,
freed from worrying that those who have more than enough
are no longer satisfied with how much they have
and have plans for making what little is yours theirs.

Loving God,
in spite of the recent actions
of states like North Carolina and Texas,
we do believe that most Americans
want only the best for their neighbors.
So, we ask that you open the hearts of those who oppose
the path of love and justice, paths which seeks equality for all,
that they might see the error of their ways
and begin favoring those who they are elected to serve
rather than those who paid for their election.
And if their hearts will not or cannot be opened,
may they be keenly and clearly aware
that a people united can never be divided.
May they know that the people will not rest
until there is a real justice in our great land.
May they know that even if they do not,
we care far too much for our fellow Americans
to continue to sit idly by as they legislate away
basic human rights and the dignity of this nation.

As we stand together,
let us not forget that it is the laws and not the lawmakers
with which we have a problem.
Lend us your loving Spirit and remind us
that those making the laws are no more and no less flawed
than we are.
Encourage us to respond to them not as they do to us
but as you would.
Help us see that name calling and hateful language
will only serve to grow the division.
Give to us the mindset of peacemakers
and inspire us to do the difficult work
of bridging divides.
Call us to a better way.
Call us to a more loving way.
Reconnect us with our founding focus:
liberty, equality and justice for all.

Amen.

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