Special greetings and prayers today for U.S. Disciples celebrating Independence Day with family and friends. My prayers are particularly with those still facing natural disaster – whether through wind or fire or terrible heat. I asked my husband, Rev. Dr. Rick Lowery to send me a few phrases that I might add into a prayer I was contemplating on the occasion of the 4th of July. He created a whole beautiful prayer which I forward to the church today. Thank you Canadian Disciples for sharing this moment with your neighbors to the south. May these deep days of summer be an opportunity for us all to give thanks to God for the gift of life and of the church which shows us the way toward wholeness across so many fragmentations that humans have made.
A Prayer on the 4th of July 2012 – Rev. Dr. Rick Lowery
God of compassionate love,
We thank you today
for the United States of America
and pray for your continued blessing.
We thank you for the dream of liberty and justice for all
that guided those who founded this great nation
and those who have preserved it
by their hard work,
their creative enterprise,
their steady, strong commitment to the common good,
their self-sacrifice and
We thank you for the vision of
and universal human rights
that has guided this nation
in its best moments
and for the better angels of its nature
who call it back to the way of truth
when it heeds the Sirens of
fear and greed.
We remember this day
families and individuals
in economic distress.
We pray that all who are able
may find work
with dignity and security
that pays a living wage.
We pray for millions in our own land
who are hungry.
We pray for those who have the power
to make laws on our behalf
that they use that power
to ensure that all are fed
and given medical care when they need it.
Give us as a nation
a clear vision,
an unfailing heart
We pray especially this day
for those courageous citizens
who willingly put themselves in harm’s way
for our freedom
and for the human rights of others:
for men and women in military uniform
and in contracted service
and in Central Africa,
the Pacific Basin,
and aid workers
throughout the world;
and election observers;
for countless humanitarian volunteers,
risking their lives
to bring medicine and food and knowledge and expertise
and non-violent witness
to improve the lives of the most vulnerable
of your beloved children.
We pray especially this day
for our military chaplains
who, for the sake of your healing gospel of hope and peace,
often put themselves
into the most extreme, most dangerous situations
human beings ever face
to be your hands, your feet,
your loving arms,
your bleeding heart
for those caught in the crossfire
of a world too often at war with itself.
Protect them, O God.
Give them strength.
Comfort them with the knowledge
that millions of us who are not physically with them
lift them in our prayers
and hold them in our hearts.
Give us the courage and the wisdom
to achieve peace,
to end war,
to eradicate the poverty and injustice
that inevitably lead to conflict.
Fan the flame of compassionate love
at the very heart of our faith in Jesus Christ
that we may overcome hatred,
especially hatreds promoted in the name of faith,
rooted in the arrogant, idolatrous
self-certainty that we alone know your mind,
in the false belief that you are a God who craves blood sacrifice,
who values purity
and correct belief
over justice for all
and compassionate love.
Help us hear the words of your prophets
who have told us clearly what you require of us:
to love mercy, to live justly, to walk humbly with you.
Help us build a world where
justice rolls like mighty waters
and right-relationships gush forth like ever-flowing streams.
Help us be transformed this day by the courage and love of
who gave his own life
for the sake of your reign on earth
and who, by the power of your holy spirit,
rose from the grave,
triumphed over the death-dealing grip
of imperial oppression.
On this day of celebration,
O merciful God,
set our hearts again
to compassionate love
and tireless commitment
to the common good.
Set our vision again
to the world our founders dreamed,
where all people, created in your image,
endowed by you with inalienable human rights
of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,
are truly free,
in the name of Jesus,
who gave his life
that all may know your freedom.