This week our nation will inaugurate a new president. This most recent election season has been perhaps one of the most divisive and contested elections in our nation’s history. And we are likely to remain divided as a nation long after this week. But, if we are honest, finding unity in the midst of our divisions has been the ongoing American project since our founding. The framers of our republic committed themselves to the hard work of “forming a more perfect union.” Inherent in that idea is that we can always strive to do better, to be better, and to treat one another better. Through revolution, civil war, world wars, and terrorism our national character has been tested and endured.
As a believer, I would contend that much of the strength of that national character is due to our citizens’ commitment to God. Enshrined on every page of our founding documents is the belief that the hand of Divine Providence rests with those who seek justice, equality, and liberty for all.
As your pastor, I call on each of you to pray this week for our nation, for our new President, for our outgoing President, for our Congress, and for the women and men of our armed forces. If you’re not sure what to pray, I’ll share with you the words of a favorite prayer of mine, written by George Washington in 1783:
“I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have the United States in his holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the field, and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation. Amen”
Grace and Peace,