July 4th – Making for Righteousness and Peace – Br. Curtis Almquist

Br. Curtis Almquist

Deuteronomy 10:17-21

“For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt…”

The Book of Common Prayer remembers today as Independence Day which, indeed it is from an historical standpoint: the colonies’ independence from English rule. However, The Book of Common Prayer qualifies in our opening prayer the nature of our country’s independence. We prayed: “Grant that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain our liberties in righteousness and peace….”

Righteousness is relational. Righteousness is making relationships right and of keeping relationships right: right relationships between individuals, between groups – racial groups, cultural groups, political groups, religious groups – and between nations, all of which makes for righteous living before God, the Creator of all. Righteousness is about right relationships. We pray for “righteousness” and we pray for “peace.” Peace is not merely the absence of fighting. Peace without justice is simply handcuffing people and terrorizing them to be mute. Peace can only come from equal justice for all. So we pray that we be emissaries of righteousness and peace.

We celebrate our nation’s Independence Day not as a narcissistic, or nationalistic, or nihilistic freedom from other people or other nations. We celebrate our freedoms for what we can do to make for righteousness and peace for others. We read in our lesson from the Book of Deuteronomy: “For the Lord your God… is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger….”

Several days ago I was talking with a father who said, “As a parent, you can only be as happy as your least happy child.” I’m thinking about that wisdom in conjunction with today’s Fourth of July celebration: that amidst our celebration today with parades, and fireworks, and fun food, we also carry the resolve of helping to enable life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all others: to make the reason for today’s celebration equally accessible to the least, and the last, and the lost in our land, which is only just.

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1 Comments

  1. Carney Ivy on July 14, 2024 at 07:24

    Amen! ThNk you!

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