Monday, May 26, 2014

Reverie on Memorial Day Morning

From the 1928 Book of Common Prayer:
ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, in whose hands are the living and the dead; We give thee thanks for all those thy servants who have laid down their lives in the service of our country. Grant to them thy mercy and the light of thy presence, that the good work which thou hast begun in them may be perfected; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord. Amen.
Many are off this Monday morning, enjoying a beautiful day here in Suburbia Majora.  Coolers are full of ice, the sunscreen is packed, and the kids are frolicking at the pool after a winter that seemed to border on Ragnarök.  Enjoy this day and the freedom to revel in the late spring beauty that this day promises to deliver.  But I'd ask you to pause and reflect.

Many don't notice that our flags this morning are at half mast.  The flying of our flag in this position has been debased by the current president who ordered it flown in this manner for a crack-addled pop star, but it still holds a much deeper significance.  This is a gesture of national mourning, mourning for a fallen hero or leader.  

Today, we pause for the barefooted soldier who fell at Valley Forge, for the Virginia Cadet who gave his all at New Market, and for the Iowa farm boy breathed his last on Omaha Beach.  We remember that young man who chose service over dishonor only to step on a boobytrap on patrol outside of Hue, and the daughter who's life was abruptly ended by an IED in Fallujah.

Remember them.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

On the National Day of Prayer, 2014

For the 4th year, I'll be leading National Day of Prayer observances here locally in Suburbia Majora.  Its humbling to gather with folks of various denominations, including that growing denomination known as "Spiritual but not Religious".  In these, there have been multiple blessings and some interesting challenges.  

The blessings speak for themselves.  The challenges have offered a chance to be stretched a bit.  Perhaps the greatest challenge has been to offer up a prayer that is thoroughly (and unabashedly) Christian while not being sectarian.  

All blessings and challenges aside though, it becomes more painfully clear with each year that this Republic is in dire need of prayer.  Anyone who would refuse to acknowledge that we're a nation under Divine judgement is in denial.  I look out at the Republic that we've inherited from our parents and the one we're passing along to our children and I shudder.  Looking at the slow motion avalanche of blight and decay, I can almost hear the quiet voice of the Almighty softly saying "So, how's that Post-Christian thing working for you?"

Let us pray...
Almighty God, we your offspring and the progeny of Adam gather this morning under this flag pole to bring praise to you and to intercede for our Republic, its Leaders and her citizens. We boldly and confidently come before you as the giver of all good things and the one by whose command, nations rise and fall. You’ve taught us through your holy counsels that every good and perfect gift comes from you and for this reason; we come before you this morning, joining others around this Republic who’ve also gathered in intercession.
We stand before you, seeking your mercy for ourselves, and for our nation. Too often, we’ve been like the prodigal children; the one who though desiring his father’s riches and bounty, was determined to live life on his own terms, or as the other harboring bitterness and malice under thin veneers of conformity and civility. In this we ask your mercy, and for the strength and resolve to live lives of gratitude and mutual concern for one another.
We ask that you would move within our lives, that we would be used as change agents for good. We pray that we might become channels of your peace and mercy to those you’ve placed in our lives and paths. We pray too, as public servants, that through your help, we will be faithful and diligent stewards of the nation and its collective trust and treasure. We commend to you this morning, those who’ve you placed in authority to govern and lead this Republic including Barak our President, Joseph our vice president, and those on Capitol Hill that they would govern justly; with an ear towards their constituents and a heart towards heaven.
We uplift to you those in our nation who are in need or who suffer this morning. We call out on their behalf, asking that you would open you storehouses of mercy for them. Too, we offer ourselves that we might become you heart and hands extended to those in need. Make us channels of your provision.
Finally Lord, we seek your protection against our enemies, both here in our homes and around the world. Not because we are deserving, but because you are one whose first principles include mercy and loving kindness. Protect us not only from our enemies, but also from ourselves that we might not only be recipients’ stewards of your blessings in this day, but also be able to pass along your bounty to those who will follow after us.

All of this, we ask, seek and hope for in your name.