Daily Archives: July 4, 2020

As usual

As usual, God winks at the right moment.

Today’s readings for Morning Prayer on Independence Day included this passage from Ecclesiasticus:

A wise magistrate educates his people,
and the rule of an intelligent person is well ordered.
As the people’s judge is, so are his officials;
as the ruler of the city is, so are all its inhabitants.
An undisciplined king ruins his people,
but a city becomes fit to live in through the understanding of its rulers.

God help us.

And this Collect of the Day:

Lord God Almighty, in whose Name the founders of this
country won liberty for themselves and for us, and lit the
torch of freedom for nations then unborn: Grant that we and
all the people of this land may have grace to maintain our
liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our
Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

See also Collect 18, “For our country”:

Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our
heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove
ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will.
Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and
pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion;
from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend
our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes
brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue
with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust
the authority of government, that there may be justice and
peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we
may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth.
In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness,
and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail;
all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Independence Day

As I write on Friday evening, July 3, I can hear the sound of helicopters nearby. Protesters are gathered two blocks away at US 40 and Kingshighway.

Me? I’m watching Hamilton and am finding myself deeply moved at the dramatization of the beginnings of this country.

Hamilton opens in 1776, after the writing of the Declaration of Independence that we celebrate on July 4. The stakes are high; the consequences, real.

My favorite line in the musical: “when my time is up, have I done enough?”.

We can say the same thing of our own day. The stakes are high. Black lives matter. Economic equality is a myth. Our national representatives are allowing this nation to slide toward a dictatorship. The environment must be saved.

These protests matter.

The consequences are real.

How we will assuage our national original sin, I do not know. But we must.

This Independence Day does not feel like a celebration very much, if at all. But I have hopes that better days are ahead, that our common lives will once again be valued and our arrogant national exceptionalism will be tamed, that our votes will matter this year, that we will find our way again.

And I do wonder, when my time is up, will I have done enough?

God, please bless America.

P.S., God — thank you for the gift of musical theatre and this miracle that is Hamilton. I sobbed through the last number.