As I continue getting to know our Immanuel family, there are many qualities for which I’m grateful. I’ve been thinking about two of them in particular this week as I prepare for Sunday: The people of this church share a strong commitment to Jesus. The people of this church share a strong commitment to the United States.
In these days of national division, we need both.
This Sunday, when our annual celebration of Independence Day coincides with our weekly celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus, we have the opportunity to kneel before our God on behalf of our nation. For the past several weeks, Jesus’ life and teaching in Mark’s Gospel have called for us to pray for the Kingdom to grow in Immanuel as it grows in Heaven. We kneel at the bright edge of the garden praying…
…for the hidden and outward growth of the Kingdom (Mark 4:26-32),
…knowing that Jesus alone has the requisite compassion and authority to bring about the greatest good in our lives (Mark 4:35-41),
…and understanding that our faith-in-action is the conduit needed for us to be “sōzō-ed” by Jesus – “made well,” restored to the wholeness and life intended by God (Mark 5:21-43).
The United States also needs to be “sōzō-ed,” and praying together is an essential part of bringing the healing of the Kingdom into the brokenness of our nation. That’s why following the sermon on Sunday, we will be praying through the Great Litany to give thanks for our country and to entreat faith-fully for its restoration. This historic prayer, ancient within Anglicanism, provides an encompassing form of intercession, and gives us the opportunity to be unified in Christ on behalf of our divided nation.
Join us this Fourth of July as we bring our yearning for a better country into the presence of the King of the heavenly country to which we truly belong (Philippians 3:20; Hebrews 12:22-24).*
Your Pastor in Christ,
*Read more about this in One Big Idea On Biblical Faith And The Desire For A Better Country by The Rev. Canon Phil Ashey, president of the American Anglican Council.