God whose love stretches from seas to shining seas-
Many of us have a complicated relationship with this particular holiday.
Those of us observing July 4
See the reds and whites and blues surrounding us.
We cherish those who serve our country
And those who have died defending it.
We look forward to barbecues and pools and fireworks and friends.
But it’s not enough.
We yearn for more when many our lacking
And as people wonder if rights and jobs and basic needs will be taken away.
When our leaders seem less than faithful to their vocation
And make their jobs more about the honor than the service.
My heart hurts this July 4.
So I remember this day as not a day of rest and celebration
But a day to listen for the call of God to ensure that all
Have what they need:
To love who they love freely and equally,
To attain the health care needed without becoming bankrupt,
To live their authentic lives,
To feel safe walking down the street
And not worry about being targeted by the powers-that-be.
This is a day for all people in our country to covenant together-
To take care of one another
And ensure all are heard.
To say out loud that black and brown lives matter,
Women’s rights are human rights,
People who are lesbian, gay, and bisexual should be able to love boldly and publicly who they love
And people identifying as transgender or gender non-conforming reflect God’s stunning image.
Immigrants and refugees are welcome
And all religions are free to express their faith.
We are more than a flag.
We are more than the land in which we live.
America is beautiful because of all the people,
Not just the few but the many.
And that our interdependence is crucial upon one another
Within our boundaries and throughout this world.
Consistently remind us of this, Divine One.
The Rev. Michelle L. Torigian is the Pastor of St. Paul United Church of Christ, Old Blue Rock Road in Cincinnati. Her essay “Always a Pastor, Never the Bride” was in the RevGalBlogPals book There’s a Woman in the Pulpit. Torigian blogs at http://www.michelletorigian.com.
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