Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Wise Man's Words

Happy Birthday, America! Today we will celebrate our independence. People across our nation will barbeque, enjoy their family and friends, and end the day by lighting the sky with fireworks. We celebrate our independence, our freedom, our nation. But the very things we celebrate today are some of the things that also separate us at times. Our independence. Our freedom. Our government. The past few weeks have been filled with controversy in our country to say the very least. Governmental decisions regarding gay marriage, confederate flags, posting of the ten commandments have created a tsunami of comments on the social media shorelines. One man's freedom and independence imposes on another's. It would seem our government is failing and our nation if filling with hate. As I have tried to keep my head above the flood of responses and opinions, I have searched for direction to safety. I came across the words of a very wise man. They were written long ago in a language that might not seem relevant to all readers of this day and age. I decided see how they might sound if they were translated into modern language. Would they still have meaning today for our struggling nation? You decide.

"The struggles we have with one another over events we disagree on seems proof to me that there is a lot lacking in human understanding. We each desire to live in a country where there is political wisdom and freedom. We look on the news and see countries all around us who have different forms of government that have failed and are failing. We find no others that have guiding systems suitable to our circumstances, yet we complain about the functioning of our own government. In this situation, searching in the dark for political truth and a strong government, how has it happened that we have not once thought of humbly praying to God to guide our understandings? Do you remember 9-11, when we were a nation with a heightened sense of vulnerability? We had churches packed with people praying for divine protection. Strangers who disagreed on race, religion, sexual orientation all came together and our prayers were heard. They were graciously answered and our nation, for a brief moment, seemed stronger in our weakness. All of us who engaged in that time can testify to the power of a God who is in our favor. Our country if full of examples of God's answers to prayer. Because of his past blessings on our people, we live in a place where we can today ask for his guidance for our nation. Our forefathers assured us of that religious freedom. Have we forgotten the God on whom this nation was built? Have we ignored that powerful friend? The longer I live, the more evidence I can see of this truth --- that God cares about the concerns of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his attention, then how is it possible that a nation can stay strong without his aid? The bible is clear that "except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain." I believe this; and I also believe that without his blessing and help, we shall fail as a country just like the great empires before us. We will be divided by our personal interests and agendas; we will be unable to accomplish things and eventually America will go down in the history books as a failed country, victim of that which has ruined so many others. We give way to human wisdom which will eventually lead to war and conquest.
On this 4th of July, I am begging you, my brothers and sisters, to seek the heavenly father's blessings. Start your days in prayer for our country. Pray for our government leaders as they make decisions about our country. Do not forget the guidance of the one who gives us strength."

It still seems like sage advice to me. How about you? The original words were pinned by Benjamin Franklin in 1787. It was written during the Constitutional Convention when they had seemed to reach a deadlock on our government. Mr. Franklin seemed to recognize that without divine intervention our country would fail. There were people then, as their are people now, who believe there is no need for prayer or God. I would suggest that a nation without God truly is a nation without a prayer.

As you celebrate Independence day, don't forget to pray to the father of heavenly lights. Ask God to once again bless our nation. Remember the days after 9-11 when we were a united nation; a nation not separated by hate and political viewpoints. My constant prayer in my own life is that I don't have to be in a crisis like cancer to be close to God. I pray the same for our country. I pray we we will gladly, willingly, eagerly take a knee rather than falling to them in fear and despair.

God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.

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The original Benjamin Franklin speech:

The small progress we have made after 4 or five weeks close attendance & continual reasonings with each other,”our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many noes and ays, is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, some we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of Government, and examined the different forms of those Republics which having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution now no longer exist. And we have viewed Modern States all round Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable to our circumstances.
In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. ”Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that "except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments be Human Wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.
I therefore beg leave to move, that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of the City be requested to officiate in that service.