O ETERNAL God, through whose mighty power our fathers won their liberties of old; Grant, we beseech thee, that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain these liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Deuteronomy x. 17 & St. Matthew v. 43
Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve
Our founding fathers were men who feared the Lord and endeavored to follow the command in Deuteronomy, "Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve." A review of the early documents of our nation clearly shows that the people revered the Lord and strove to ensure that the institutions they established to govern their temporal affairs were in accord with the tenets of the Bible. The result was a land where freedom and justice prevailed, a place where all manner of folk from around the world were attracted, and still are, as a land of freedom and opportunity.
We are faced with many challenges today including the control of our borders, illegal immigration, and terrorism from those who hate us for what we are. In all of this concern with our security, we are to remember God's command that we should exercise hospitality for the stranger, "Love ye therefore the stranger." We are to do this in the same way as the Father in Heaven loves the stranger and provides for him. Our Lord Jesus took this to even a higher level of perfection as he commanded us to, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven."
America has traditionally set the standard for justice and mercy. After WWII, our actions in Germany and Japan demonstrated the essence of the command that our Lord gave us. Today, in Iraq, we continue as a nation to try to obey this command by trying to rebuild the country and to work closely with the people to establish a land of freedom and justice, ruled by law, and tempered by mercy.
Finally, we should be concerned with those who wish to see God removed completely from everything public. We have seen the recent actions to take "God" out of oaths, the pledge, public symbols, and from buidings. The hymn below is our National Anthem, written as Francis Scott Key observed the English bombard Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812. I recommend you take time to sing or read through all four verses. We normally just hear the first verse, but look closely at the fourth verse. In it you will find the source of the motto on our coins today, "In God is our Trust"
Hymn: National Anthem
Deuteronomy x. 17
THE LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: he doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name. He is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen.
St. Matthew v. 43
JESUS said, Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Scripture from 1928 Book of Common Prayer
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