Independence Day Blessing

4 Jul

Happy Independence Day! Enjoy this excerpt from Blessing Rites for Christian Lives by Shawn Madigan, CSJ

“The Lord loves Justice and will not forsake a faithful people” (Psalm 37:28)

Holidays celebrating the liberty and justice for all that our nation claims are a good time to renew efforts to make that dream come true.  A table can have the usual colors of celebration and a candle symbolizing both Christ our Light and freedom’s light of Lady Liberty.

LEADER: Today we give thanks for the freedom Christ’s light brings and for Lady Liberty’s torch that shines forth as a sign of care for the tired and the poor from all nations.
ALL: Trust in the Lord so you may live in the land and enjoy security.

PSALM 37:3-11 Pray antiphonally.Old Patriot
1. Trust in the Lord and do good;
so you will live in the land and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
who will give you the desires of your heart.
2. Commit your way to the Lord, trust in God and God will act.
Your vindication will shine forth like the light,
and the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
1. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently.
Do not fret over those who prosper in their way
or over those who carry out evil devices.
2. Refrain from anger and forsake wrath.
Do not fret; it leads only to evil.
For the wicked shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
1. Yet a little while and the wicked will be no more;
though you look diligently for their place, they will not be there.
2. But the meek shall inherit the land,
and delight themselves in abundant prosperity.
ALL: Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live in the land and enjoy security.

LEADER: Today we remember with gratitude all of the countless people whose lives have been given for the good of this nation in times of war and in times of peace. Brief silence.

READER 1: The wisdom of Solomon and of Jesus reflect ideals for a community living under God. If your enemy is hungry, provide food; if thirsty, provide drink.  In this way, you will heap coals on the head of your enemy and God will reward you (Based on Prov 25: 21-22).

READER 2: Blessed are those who are poor in spirit: the kingdom of heaven is theirs.  Blessed are those who are mourning: they will be consoled.
Blessed are those who are gentle: they will inherit the land.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice; they will have their fill.
Blessed are those who show mercy to others: they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are those whose hearts are clean: they will see God.
Blessed are those who work for peace: they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of their struggle for justice: the kingdom of heaven is theirs (Matt 5:3-11).

LEADER: You are the liberty of the world. Shared reflection: What does it mean today to live as “light” of liberty and justice for all?
LEADER: God of our ancestors in this land, God of all nations and peoples, God who still calls us to be agents of liberty and justice for all, we thank you for this service of all our people who have died defending the ideals of this nation.  With gratefulness, we pray:
ALL: God bless America, land that I love.
LEADER: Jesus Christ, who invited all who were heavily burdened to come to you, bless all the people in this land whose lives say with Lady Liberty “Bring me your tired and your poor.” Withe gratefulness for these witnesses of care, we give you thanks and we pray:
ALL: God bless America, land that I love.
LEADER: Spirit of Wisdom, whose insight is freely given, guide our leaders and our nation’s people to discern and remove oppression of our own people and of all peoples. We ask that true liberty and justice for all come soon in our land as we pray:
ALL: God bless America, land that I love.
Sing “God bless America” and exchange peace.

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