On July 4, 1776, the men, and their families supporting them
published the sacred document, the Declaration of Independence,
that created this country. At its conclusion, they said:
FOR THE SUPPORT OF THIS DECLARATION
WITH A FIRM RELIANCE ON THE PROTECTION OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE
WE MUTUALLY PLEDGE OUR LIVES, OUR FORTUNES AND OUR SACRED HONOR.
Imagine the risks they undertook and the courage that they needed
to bring the ideal of freedom and equality that existed in their minds and hearts into external reality.
They had to be willing to sacrifice everything dear to them — their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.
Their signatures, bound to their lives, fortunes and honor, created the United States of America.
We need to return again and again to that moment.
We need to re-birth America in our hearts in this time and place.
We honor today the sacrifices of the women and men and their families
in Iraq and Afghanistan who are in service of our country.
Many of these men and women are compelled to serve tour after tour,
sacrificing their physical and emotional lives and those of their families.
But let also realize that the rest of us American people have been asked to sacrifice very little.
We go on with our complacent lives,
untouched by the reality of war for our Marines or Iraqi children.
May we not take for granted what we have here in America.
May this Fourth of July be a time for us to take stock of ourselves.
John Kennedy said:
“Ask not what your country can do for you.
Ask what you can do for your country.”
Each of us must be willing to enter a path of personal transformation
for the sake of transformation of our country.
I invite you to pray every day for God’s help in that transformation.
Good and gracious God of our understanding,
we thank You for the courage and vision of our founding fathers and mothers.
May each of us be willing to transform
our hate to respect for all people,
our reliance on material things to reliance on You,
our greed and selfishness to self-giving and compassion
May we always be willing to respond to the grace You give us
to transform our lives and our country to serve the good of all.
Let the lessons of hardship that many of us now are experiencing
to turn to You, God of our understanding,
for You, are the Source of all that is good in our lives.
May all our actions show Your wisdom and love.
priest / writer