This Thursday, July 4th is the 243rd anniversary of the founding of our country. For it was on this day in 1776, the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, setting the 13 original colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. At that time, there were an estimated 2.5 million people living in this newly established nation. Presently, close to 330 million people call the United States their home. We have so much to be thankful to God for as citizens of this great country. We have come a long way over those years, not without much struggle, heartache, sacrifice and perseverance. And yet, we still face challenges and hurtles to “form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” (Preamble of the Constitution) In a special way this week, I invite you to keep in prayer our country and its leaders, our service men and women, and all who work to address the challenges that threaten the welfare and peace of a nation. Below is a prayer you are welcome to use or, even better, why not make up your own. Have a happy and safe Independence Day!
O Almighty and merciful God,
You cannot be understood by one who sows discord,
You cannot be accepted by one who loves violence:
Look upon our painful human condition tried by cruel acts of terror and death,
comfort your children and open our hearts to hope,
so that our time may again know days of serenity and peace.
Through Christ our Lord.
—Sept. 12, 2001
God bless you!