Friday, September 11, 2009

Prayers for Our Country

I think we all remember with sharp clarity what we were doing as the events of September 11, 2001, exploded across our nation's psyche. For our family, we were in a time of transition, having worked until the wee small hours of September 11 packing up our belongings from our former house in the city to move them into storage for a couple of weeks until we could move into our mountain cabin. Here's my post about what we experienced, 3000 miles away from the real action yet close in our hearts and souls as tragic event after tragic event engulfed our nation: Remembering September 11.

This morning I woke all too aware of the date. I watched a U-Tube video of the happenings of that horrific day, eight years ago, posted on Facebook by the wife of our then-pastor. But as the four kids and I gathered around the school table and the living room for Morning Prayer, we prayed this prayer from the 1928 Book of Common 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.
Later I also prayed another Collect, this one just a page or two past the above prayer:
For the Unity of God’s People:

O GOD, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, the Prince of Peace; Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly, union and concord: that as there is but one Body and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
May the unity that we possessed in the aftermath of the horrific events of 9-11, of a terror-stricken and grief-laden country after which we came together as perhaps we have never done before and certainly haven't since -- may that unity of purpose as a nation return without terror as the cause. May we work with and not against each other. May we strive for the common good and not for personal gain. May we speak truth, rather than half-truths and distortions masquerading as truth. May accusations of "Socialist" and "Nazi" not be bandied about lightly, for tragedy and murder lurk behind those words just as they do behind the word "terrorist."

There's that old 70's song that comes to mind every once in a while, and it's as true of our nation now as it was in 1776 during our fight for independence, in 1865 as our country overcame civil war, in 1941 after Pearl Harbor, and as we remember today in 2001: "United we stand; divided we fall." So it was on 9/11, and so it is today.

And so we continue to pray....

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