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Children celebrating the Fourth of July

In the midst of horrendous acts of terror and destruction reported from around the world and even in our own country, we celebrate today our national holiday. I am often aware of the privilege of having been born in the United States of America, the “Land of Opportunity.” My grandparents sought and took that chance for a better life and I look back to my parents (members of Tom Brokaw’s “Greatest Generation”) and now to my siblings and cousins and see how blessed we have been.

With all our country’s challenges at present there is reason to lament. The widening gap between rich and poor, the increasingly divisive political rhetoric, the obvious disturbance caused by climate change cause me to wonder sometimes about our future. But then I think of all the great advances and advantages that we have here in the United States – all the remarkable inventions and discoveries, all the achievements of the young as well as some who have been working on the same problem all their adult lives who have just had the breakthrough that pushes our science to new heights. I watch hordes of people come forward to help in times of trouble and feel the joy of an announcement and photos of the long awaited birth of a new “citizen” in our family. Learning to live in the darkness and light of life without giving in to depression and sadness or appropriating for ourselves the credit for all good outcomes is sometimes quite a task. For me, the possibility of peace in the midst of it all lies in the recognition of my place and responsibility in the grand scheme of things.

Mindfulness of our relatedness to and reverence for all of creation and gratitude for God’s care at every moment seems a place to begin today’s celebration. I call on today’s liturgical text of the psalmist’s words for a fitting tribute to the One who is the Giver of all good gifts. Psalm 145 proclaims the following:

O Sovereign God, all-powerful, your name I praise above all else. Each day that comes I add another note of song that I shall never cease to sing, for you, Almighty One, are great beyond my telling. Of you there is no limit and no end. Each generation speaks its word, its view of you, and so your power passes through the ages. In awe I ponder all that you have done. I see its beauty and its grandeur everywhere. Yes, all shall finally see and know it too, and recount in full to everyone. And so the news of you shall spread and grow, and all shall add their voice to sing this song of deep remembrance.

Blessings to us and all the world. Happy 4th!