"If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land."
- 2 Chronicles 7:14
There was a power-outage in Minooka following strong storms last Sunday. I found out as computers shut off, tv went black, and the cry of wailing teenagers filled my home.
I chuckled until I realized that I had a funeral service that evening that I needed to work on. I, too, started wailing when I realized my car was inside the garage, whose door was no longer opening.
Losing power was no fun, but it presented both challenges and opportunities. I saw more neighbors hanging outside and talking. Children found non-electronic games they could play (using flashlights.) After figuring out how to get my car out of the garage, I reflected on the things I take for granted - including a safe neighborhood and excellent schools, access to clean drinking water and nearby hospitals, and an uninterrupted flow of electricity to power my lights, air conditioning, entertainment systems, and (yes) garage door.
On this 4th of July, let's celebrate our nation's birthday and all the blessings we experience as Americans. There are always reasons to be divided - to criticize those blue liberals (or red conservatives) - to point out all the inadequacies and injustices of our nation and local communities. However, there is so much to be grateful for - to celebrate - to honor.
So, take a moment to give thanks. Let's thank our servicemen and service women. Let's thank our teachers and first-responders, our civil servants and elected officials, and even those with whom we disagree - because we are not merely a nation of red or blue. We're a nation of red white and blue.
In the midst of the fireworks, hot dogs and potato salad, let's also give thanks to God, who invites us to pray not only for families and friends, but for our nation and world. Let's pray for clarity of vision and determination of spirit to love with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and love love our neighbors as ourselves.
May you have a happy, safe, and blessed Fourth of July!