Let us consider an article on July 4th from a recent Presbyterian Outlook Magazine as this is the season. Pastor Junie
Everlasting God, our country, like each of us, is a mixed bag of beauty and brutality. Our ideals are lofty, but our actions often reflect our base instincts. When we hold up our history to the light of your justice and your character of loving kindness, we see the stark contrast between your ways and our ways. Grant us the courage and humility to confess our corporate sin, trusting your power and grace to turn even hearts of stone to tablets for your law.
Even as we lament the wrong we have done, we give thanks for the good we experience. We rejoice at the variety of people and cultures that contribute to the richness of this land. We celebrate the freedoms we enjoy that many around the globe do not have the ability to exercise. We remember those who have sacrificed their lives in service to our country and the highest values we seek to embody. We remember those whose names are lost in history, the enslaved men and women whose unpaid labor helped build this nation. We eat the fruit of vineyards they planted but were not allowed to enjoy. For immigrants who contribute in indispensable ways we are grateful. For Native Americans and the newest Americans who make up this part of your creation, we give thanks.
We ask, Almighty God, that you would give us unity, not uniformity. We plead for a common purpose that strives to honor your creation, your character and your will. Quiet the din of anger and division so that we can hear your still, small, voice that calls us to mercy, grace and love. Make us bold to live up the ideals we hold self-evident but too often leave unfulfilled. On this day, and every day, help us to focus on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — let us not only think on these things, but act on them. Amen.