To read this morning's office, click here.
This weekend many of us will gather with our families to celebrate July 4, the day we remember our own founding and coming to adulthood as a nation. All nations have such a day to celebrate. In a day when many are nervous about any one country getting too full of itself, the best solution is not to deny any nation's this joy but to encourage each to celebrate its own history. In fact, we need to remind ourselves that all nations do this.
One feature of such days is the inclusion of children in the celebration. In fact, children feature as a regular feature in national holidays: we will see them in marches, we will see them with sparklers, we will see given special attention at meal time. I like this because it brings to the front what holidays are all about: passing on our cherished memories, our founding visions, and our deepest dreams.
When we include children we tell everyone that everyone matters. In our morning's office (and this computer does not have the editing capabilities that mine has and I don't know why), the following prayer reminds us of what we all are called to do: whether we are old or young, what we all called to pass on and cherish and dream about. This part of flattens the playing surface, and equalizes us all:
O God, you have taught me to keep all your commandments by loving you and my neighbor: Grant me the grace of your Holy Spirit, that I may be devoted to you with my whole heart, and united to others with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
All of us, young and old, are called to walk with God and God will walk with us: to walk with God means to love God and my neighbor. Today, we are called to the love that begins at home and spreads to the neighborhood and the world, because any part of the world we see and touch is the neighborhood of God.