This weekend, here in the USA, will celebrate our country’s birthday. Independence Day. The Fourth of July. Largely a day for fun…and food. (ALways the food!) But it really is a significant day as well. When I pause and consider our country (and really consider things), there is definitely cause for concern. As they say, the winds of change are blowing – often, with category five intensity – and it can be overwhelming.
In an effort to keep those winds blowing, there is a huge effort to re-write and/or erase our history. I’m not sure if that humors me, aggravates me or infuriates me. The past is the past. You can (attempt to) rewrite it, distort it, ignore it or even lie about it; however, the reality is the past will always be the past. This is just as true in our country as it is in our personal lives. No doubt, we are shaped by the past. We can learn from the past – and make changes where needed. We can be instructed, helped, and encouraged by the past. Sometimes we are shamed or even hurt by the past. But we cannot simply erase the past. Wisdom suggests that we allow the past to create a better future – learning from its successes and strong points.
Well, I have certainly strayed from thoughts of red, white and blue. Of barbeques, fireworks, and Lee Greenwood songs. To all my state-side friends, Happy Fourth!! I pray you have a wonderful time with family and friends. And, then, do just that. Pray. Pray for our country. I want to leave you with a few quotes from some of our past presidents. Words to encourage. To consider. To value and to help us pray.
“To preserve our blessed land we must look to God…Let us, young and old, join together, as did the First Continental Congress, in the first step – in humble heartfelt prayer. Let us do so for the love of God and His great goodness, in search of His guidance and the grace of repentance, in seeking His blessings, His peace, and the resting of His kind and holy hands on ourselves, our nation, our friends in the defense of freedom, and all mankind, now and always……Our country is in need of and ready for a spiritual renewal. Today, we utter no prayer more fervently than the ancient prayer for peace on earth.” Ronald Reagan
“Let us therefore proclaim our gratitude to Providence for manifold blessings-let us be humbly thankful for inherited ideals-and let us resolve to share those blessings and those ideals with our fellow human beings throughout the world…let us earnestly and humbly pray that He will continue to guide and sustain us in the great unfinished tasks of achieving peace, justice, and understanding among all men and nations and of ending misery and suffering wherever they exist.”John F. Kennedy
“Almighty God….give us, we pray, the power to discern clearly right from wrong, and allow all our words and actions to be governed thereby, and by the laws of this land. Especially we pray that our concern shall be for all the people regardless of station, race, or calling. May cooperation be permitted and be the mutual aim of those who, under the concepts of our Constitution, hold to differing political faiths; so that all may work for the good of our beloved country and Thy glory. Amen.” Dwight D. Eisenhower