Prayer 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 favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, 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.” (1928 Book of Common Prayer, 136)
This prayer was offered in one of our Anglican parishes this morning, All Saints Day. It is a poetic, potent, plea for our nation as we draw near to election day and our choice of President for another four years.
I love America, and I believe her fortunes greatly influence the world’s fortunes. Many say that every election is heated, which to some degree is true. But never in our history have we had an election with such transparency. The ubiquitous smart phone has given every person a window into the character and habits of every public figure. This is historically new.
In the past, public figures were shielded simply by limited access. They could indulge in corruption and promiscuity with impunity. Damage control was far easier when information could not go viral in minutes whether true or false. (FDR, JFK, Bill Clinton come to mind)
This “living in a glass house” with full transparency has hurt both Democrats and Republicans. Some are offended by President Trump’s style. Some are offended by former Vice President Biden’s corruption. Even more folks are aghast at the biased press and the disintegration of this vital pillar of our free democratic republic (this may be the ultimate poison pill).
In spite of the power and wealth of the media (Hollywood /press/ academia /publishing /big tech), I return to my fifty-year policy of choosing candidates based on what they can do for our country. For what happens to our country affects the world for good or ill. I choose substance over style, performance over personality. There is too much at stake to consider anything else.
The current genocide of the unborn, free speech, freedom of worship, freedom of assembly, and peace at home and abroad are all substantive issues at the top of my list and have found their way into my novels. Cancel culture is seen in all of these issues – the cancellation of life, the cancellation of churches and schools, the cancellation of speakers (and novelist bloggers!), the cancellation of enterprise of all kinds, the cancellation of law and order. The Chinese virus was and continues to be weaponized against freedom, the pandemic’s dangers real but fears far exaggerated, designed to keep us locked down in dependance upon the State.
But be of good cheer, for today is All Saints! A wonderful celebration in the calendar for Christians. One of our preachers this morning (I visited three virtual liturgies and am becoming a sermon junkie) said that saints are you and I as well as those on the calendar, those canonized by the Church. He said, when folks think of you, do they see Christ? Tough question. Saints walk among us today, everyday saints, men and women who love with the love of Christ, who witness to his acts of salvation, who follow his commandments and repent when they fail to obey them, who pick themselves up (and dust themselves off) and move into the next minutes and days and months and years, suffering for the love of you and I, courageous and free from fear.
And so we thank God for the saints past, present, and to come in these challenging times. We pray for our nation and our nation’s leaders. We pray for peace. We pray for freedom from tyranny, from socialism in all its forms, soft or hard. We remember Russia and China and Germany and Cuba and those who fled here for refuge (and continue to flee here), those who witness to the horror they experienced. We tell our history to our children – true history, our true past so that we can learn where we went wrong and how to do better. We pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and gather together in prayerful thanksgiving and song:
“For all the saints, who from their labors rest,/Who thee by faith before the world confessed,/Thy Name o Jesus, be forever blessed./Alleluia, alleluia!” (Hymn #126, words by Wm. Walsham How, 1864)
May God bless America!