Dear Lord, patient and forgiving Father, all-knowing God who sees our hearts even as we can’t,
I pray for our country even as the inauguration of our 45th president, Donald Trump, is taking place. I pray that we would be a country of peace that seeks equality and justice for all without our borders. I pray that as a nation we grow to embody the words written by Emma Lazarus in her iconic poem The New Colossus.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
I pray that we honor, not demonize the “wretched refuse” that we are a sanctuary for the tired, the poor, the huddled masses who yearn to breathe free. I pray that we once again proudly claim our mantle as Mother of Exiles, that we set to our side our conquering limbs.
I pray that this one nation under God remain indivisible and provides liberty and justice for all.
But more God, I pray for the Church. I pray that we prostrate ourselves before you a self-sacrificing God who condescended so that we may be exalted. A God who came to seek and to save those who are by our own power irreparably broken.
I pray Lord that we repent of being acolytes of bombast. That we repent from following one who seeks to exalt himself and speaks pompous words and who is a liar. God, I pray that we renounce the ways of this anti-christ for what is more anti to Christ than living and breathing untruth, than lacking love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Merciful God, I pray that we repent of our idolatry of power and influence and learn to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with you.
May we repent of the harm we do your name and the harm we do in your name. May we repent of defiling the cross on which your blood was shed for us. May we repent for not tending the garden of faith and allowing weeds to sprout, moss to corrupt, and our witness to fail.
Lord forgive us for our hard-hearted nationalism. Remind us that our citizenship is not here but with you. Help us to honor not abhor those who are in need. Protect us from the sin of Sodom which is to be arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned- not helping the poor and needy.
Let us remember the wise words of C.S. Lewis who said:
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
And please, magnanimous Father, forgive us for obscuring that sun…your son with our flag so that we can only see you through the colored lens of stars and stripes.
“Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary.”
Forgive us Father, for we have sinned. Amen.