Heavenly Father, You are the real foundation of nations, raising them up to serve and care for the people dwelling inside and outside their boundaries / Thank You for raising up a nation devoted to freedom and interdependence on You / Please bless this country with your Spirit so like Abraham and the followers You called before us, we can be a blessing to others
Help us not to squander our abundance on frivolity / May our strength always be on the side of justice / Help our leaders to be strong enough to seek peace and reject the myth of redemptive violence / May the great, strong hearts of our people be open to cheerful, and when necessary, sacrificial giving / Help our giving to benefit America but also the World / Especially the millions of women and children enslaved throughout it / More than at any time in earth’s history / May all who seek citizenship be welcomed here / And may our legacy be one of enduring equality and liberty
We, the people, still believe there is hope for the least, the last, and the lost because once we were too, but now are found / On this Interdependence Day, and every day till we see Jesus face to face, may we the people continue to put our hope in You
- a personal prayer adapted from multiple scriptures and sources
On a cold January morning in 2007, at a Washington DC Metro Station, one of the greatest musicians in the world played six Bach pieces on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars for about an hour. One of the pieces he played is one of the most intricate pieces of music ever written (for more on this story, click here to read the Washington Post article).
While he played, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule. About 4 minutes later, the violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk. At 6 minutes, a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again. At 10 minutes, a 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent without exception forced their children to move on quickly. Bell collected a total of $32 for music he played, but two nights before he played the same set of music to a sold out crowd in Boston each paying about $100/ seat. After 1 hour, he finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.
His incognito concert in DC was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities. This experiment raised several questions one of which must be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made, how many other things are we missing as we rush through life?
I thank you, Lord Jesus, for becoming a human being so I do not have to pretend or try to be God / I thank you, Lord Jesus, for becoming finite and limited so I do not have to pretend that I am infinite and limitless / I thank you, crucified God, for becoming mortal
so I do not have to try to make myself immortal / I thank you, Lord Jesus, for becoming inferior so I do not have to pretend that I am superior to anyone /I thank you for being crucified outside the walls, for being expelled and excluded like the sinners and outcasts, so you can meet me where I feel that I am, always outside the walls of worthiness.
I thank you for becoming weak, Lord Jesus, so I don’t have to be strong / I thank you for being willing to be considered imperfect and strange, so I do not have to be perfect and normal / I thank you, Jesus, for being willing to be disapproved of, so I do not have to try so hard to be approved and liked / I thank you for being considered a failure, so I do not have to give my life trying to pretend I’m a success / I thank you for being wrong by the standards of religion and state, so I do not have to be right anywhere, even in my own mind / Into your hands I commit my spirit.
Adapted from Hope Against Darkness, p. 38