Opinion | Walking Our Faith: An urgent call to prayer
October 12, 2018
We are a nation divided. I believe as dangerously divided as during the Civil War. Which is why I am asking every priest, pastor, rabbi and spiritual leader, as well as every person of faith, to gather in places of worship for an hour of prayer. We must pray for the unification of our country. Pray for an end to the partisan bitterness that has blinded us to the greater good which unites us as a country. We must pray for reconciliation; the survival of our nation depends on it.
A nation divided cannot stand.
A nation divided is more easily drawn into fascism as a means of controlling slim majorities and into international economic and military conflict as a means of diversion and destabilization. A nation divided decries the very diversity and democracy that created the foundation of our greatness.
We pride ourselves as being one nation under God, yet, we use God's name to defend diametrically opposed positions. I'm not sure God appreciates the rancor with which his name is used to claim the moral high ground by either side. I believe God feels we are largely using his name in vain.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.”
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Do we remember Jesus' reply when asked the most important commandments and he replied, "First love the Lord with all your heart, and second, love your neighbor as you love yourself"? Can we see that in God's eyes, we cannot obey the first commandment without also obeying the second?
The reconciliation our country will not come from our political leaders. They have discovered vilification of the "other" is the best way to maintain loyalty. So, we must answer this question: Are we still one nation under God?
I strongly believe our best hope is to seek God. "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance." (Psalm 33:12) This is why we have been a blessed nation. Yet, we risk losing this blessing, just as other nations have lost theirs when they allowed men to become gods.
We stand at a crossroads. Will we forget the faith and freedoms upon which our great country was founded? Will we remember that being a nation under God brings with it the responsibility of acting with the compassion and love given to us by the Son of God?
I believe a time such as this calls for prayer. We must humble ourselves before God and admit that our anger and fear creates a divide more impenetrable than any wall. Now is the time for us to seek God's forgiveness. To ask God to take the plank from our own eye before we ask our neighbor to remove the splinter in their's.
We must ask God to remind us that despite our differences, we are all Americans. Remind us that the compassion and forgiveness we have sought for ourselves must also be extended to our neighbor.
The inspiration for this article came from a conversation with Charlie Brumbaugh, the Rector at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Breckenridge. Charlie told me he will be holding a prayer service on Monday, Nov. 5 — the eve of election day. "St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church is offering a simple, quiet service of Evening Prayer in the Anglican tradition from 5:30–6 p.m. Prayers of petition and thanks giving will be offered for our country, for our elected representatives, and for those who are running for office. All are welcome."
I am asking every church and religious organization to do the same. Let us unite as a community, to pray for our nation. Put aside the rhetoric for one night. Instead, let's gather for an hour of quiet prayer, seeking God. Here's how Charlie explains this need:
"Our country is deeply divided, and our passions are inflamed. One gift the Church can offer, as we prepare to exercise the right and privilege of voting, is to offer a holy moment in a sacred space where we can gather as one and thank God for our blessings and ask God's grace to help us forge a deeper unity in diversity as we strive for the common good. Abraham Lincoln expressed this timeless hope beautifully in his Second Inaugural Address: 'We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.'"
If you are a religious leader, please call your congregation to an evening of prayer. If you are a member of a church, ask your pastor to open the church for one hour, for this purpose. If you don't belong to a church, I ask you to pray wherever you are, and invite a few friends to join you. I believe in the power of prayer. I believe God will honor our prayers with an outpouring of grace. "May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you." Amen.
Suzanne Anderson lives in Breckenridge and can be reached at. Her books are available at the Next Page Books and Nosh in Frisco.
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