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. BCP p. 820
St. Matthew’s Parish Family,
No doubt many comments and editorials will be offered between this evening and tomorrow about the events that unfolded in our nation’s capital. I simply offer the above petition for our country from our Prayerbook tradition. How beautifully it brings to the fore so many of our hopes and desires as a people, but, rather tellingly, all resting upon a singular truth; without God we cannot stand. But it is God that has been pushed repeatedly further out of our common life, and yet still remains the only one who can restore us to truly be the United States of America. How?
Today, January 6th, also happens to be the Feast of the Epiphany, the doorway into a season that highlights God’s manifestations among us, of the light of Christ come to drive out the darkness. As I mentioned in my sermon this past Sunday, that light most frequently continues its manifestation here and now through us, working in humble unity with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
That is what we must boldly embody as the body of Christ at St. Matthew’s; a place where our bonds in Jesus are far greater than any divisions we may have concerning things of incomparably less worth, a place where anyone who enters our doors is assured of their worth as a child of God, a place sought out for how sacrificially it strives to build up others for the sake of the Kingdom.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, may we be that light that allows no room for the darkness.
Be assured of my love and respect for each and every one of you, and I pray for a Christ-filled Epiphany season for us all.