4th of July Prayer

Pastoral Prayer
Broadway Baptist Church
July 5, 2015
Chris Caldwell, Pastor

O God, we bow before you as our nation celebrates the soul-stirring and life-changing words first penned by Thomas Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by you, O God, with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

We celebrate men who risked all 239 years ago, when they “mutually pledge[d] to each other [their] Lives, [their] Fortunes and [their] sacred Honor.”

We give thanks for a man who dared to speak truth to power and to denounce the tyrannies of King George.

But we lament that one such denunciation, written into the first draft presented the congress, was deleted: [The King]  has waged cruel war against human nature itself, by captivating & carrying [men] into slavery, [and by determin[ing] to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, 

We gave birth to a great nation, 239 years ago, but what a greater nation we would have been if, at the same time, we had put to death the sin of slavery.  What lives could have been saved by sparing us our great civil war.  How much greater would even our city be had the sin of Jim Crow never been visited upon us.

And so, on this weekend when we profess our love for our country, we also profess our abiding respect for African Americans who love an America that has not always loved them back.

You know something about this, O God, as one who loves and is not always loved back
And your response has been something we call grace
A decision to forgive and to continue to love.
What grace we have received from our black sisters and brothers.
The forgiveness of a racist murderer is the most recent and one of the most unbelievable examples, but how thankful we are, when we have given African Americans so many reasons to give up on our goodness, they continue to believe that white lives matter, and that we are people worthy of being loved and treated with respect.  May we be found faithful in trying to emulate the widness we have often found in their unwarranted mercy.

Lord, we do pray for our nation today
We give thanks for patriotic greatness behind us
We place in your hands the great tensions among us
And we dedicate ourselves to seeking your future ahead of us