On Independence Day, July 4, The Episcopal Church turns to The Book of Common Prayer and commemorates the day with these words, “Lord God Almighty, in whose Name the founders of this country won liberty for themselves and for us, and lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn: Grant that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain our liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
On the Sunday after Independence Day at 9:30 a.m. in the Martha Bowles Parish Hall, all ages are invited to join Father Murdock Smith (Assisting Priest) and myself for a conversation called Independence and Inter-Dependence: Christian Perspectives on Liberty. Our community of Episcopalian Americans in Center City Charlotte will have an opportunity to reflect on the Holy Scriptures, The Declaration of Independence, and The Book of Common Prayer. Rarely do we gather at church for intentional dialogue about nationalism, patriotism, war, peace, and the variety of approaches and perspectives that people of faith have toward each.
I look forward to being with you for this occasion. In whatever we do to celebrate Independence Day, let us also offer the prayer for the human family from The Book of Common Prayer: “O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
– The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher, Rector