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Whatever you are feeling this morning (that is, if you are an American with opinions about yesterday’s election), it seems to me the words of 1 Peter 2:13-17 apply to us all. Here’s how Eugene Peterson’s The Message puts it:
13-17 Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God’s emissaries for keeping order. It is God’s will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you’re a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government.
Dignity, love, reverence, respect. A list we all must work to cultivate in our lives and in the life we hope to have in community. None of us has a monopoly on any of them. And we must hold ourselves and each other to a standard of civility in order to work together for the justice for which we long.
I believe that “big moments” should most remind us of the need for prayer. So let me give you two to consider today.
One from the 1928 Episcopal Book of Common Prayer:
Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage:
We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners.
Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way.
Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues.
Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth.
In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail;
all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.
And one attributed to John Calvin:
Lord, save us from being self-centred in our prayers and teach us to remember to pray for others. May we be so bound up in love with those for whom we pray, that we may feel their needs as acutely as our own, and interceded for them with sensitivity, with understanding and with imagination.
May this always be true for us.