Guest Post: From Fr. Michael Merriman
Proper 8 – Prayers for Our Nation
In the commentary on our worship that I have authored, I wrote of this Sunday:
Today’s liturgy directs our attention to God’s care for the poor and unfortunate. In the Gospel reading we hear the account of Jesus’ raising the young daughter of the Jewish official, Jairus. Mark inserts within this story the healing of a woman who had suffered hemorrhages for twelve years. The girl and the woman by the custom of their times were both regarded as of little value. But Jesus’ compassion extends to them as it does to all people…
…We gather in Eucharist as the People of God called to be the means by which God makes known the divine compassion for all people. It is the poor and neglected who are devalued by society for whom God is especially concerned as Jesus demonstrated in healing the sick. We are called and given to the world to minister in God’s name that same care for the last and least.
— Worship that Does Justice and Loves Kindness.
© Michael W. Merriman, 2018. All rights reserved
This is particularly apt for us as American Christians as we commemorate our nation’s founding. If I am called through my baptism to care for the last and least, how do I respond as a citizen our of great country at those time I see my nation’s policies fail the last and least among us?
I wish I could give an easy answer to that question. I can’t.
But as we reaffirm in our worship today that Jesus is Lord, thus he is above all human authority; that I have promised to follow him above all other human loyalties; that at the same time I seek to be a good citizen of this nation: I must search my heart and seek God’s will.
Here is one of the prayers for our nation found in our Book of Common Prayer. I think it needs praying and reflection by us all.
Almighty God, giver of all good things:
We thank you for the natural majesty and beauty of this land.
They restore us, though we often destroy them.
We thank you for the great resources of this nation. They
make us rich, though we often exploit them.
We thank you for the men and women who have made this
country strong. They are models for us, though we often fall
short of them.
We thank you for the torch of liberty which has been lit in
this land. It has drawn people from every nation, though we
have often hidden from its light.
We thank you for the faith we have inherited in all its rich
variety. It sustains our life, though we have been faithless
again and again.
Help us, O Lord, to finish the good work here begun.
Strengthen our efforts to blot out ignorance and prejudice,
and to abolish poverty and crime. And hasten the day when
all our people, with many voices in one united chorus, will
glorify your holy Name. Amen.
—The Book of Common Prayer, pp. 838-839
– Fr. Michael Merriman