During Holy Week many Christians supplement their religious observances. Some, continuing in a denial that marks Lent; and others choosing to add something to their life in Christ’s worship and ministry. One of the things one can add that for many is sadly not a staple of their daily life is morning and/or evening prayer. In the prayer book that Anglicans use there are many prayers and thanksgivings but on Wednesday I was drawn again to the one “for our country.”
ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.Amen.
Sadly, I haven’t given up the world to the extent I can turn from the topics of the day. Barack Obama has announced an “energy plan” that was almost immediately characterized by those who know about these things as a political gimmick aimed at getting the “Cap ‘n Tax” anti-energy Obama bill through Congress. You know, the one that most experts say will add $1700 to your annual utility bills. (What you should visualize here is me sighing, shaking my head and beating my chest.)
Coincidentally, Psalm 94 was listed in the lectionary for Wednesday’s Morning Prayer.
O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth, * thou God, to whom vengeance belongeth, show thyself.
Arise, thou Judge of the world, * and reward the proud after their deserving.
LORD, how long shall the ungodly, * how long shall the ungodly triumph?
How long shall all wicked doers speak so disdainfully, * and make such proud boasting?
They smite down thy people, O LORD, * and trouble thine heritage.
They murder the widow and the stranger, * and put the fatherless to death.
And yet they say, Tush, the LORD shall not see, * neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.
Take heed, ye unwise among the people: * O ye fools, when will ye understand?
He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? * or he that made the eye, shall he not see?
Or he that instructeth the heathen, * it is he that teacheth man knowledge; shall not he punish?
The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, * that they are but vain.
Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, * and teachest him in thy law;
That thou mayest give him patience in time of adversity, * until the pit be digged up for the ungodly.
For the LORD will not fail his people; * neither will he forsake his inheritance;
Until righteousness turn again unto judgment: * all such as are true in heart shall follow it.
Who will rise up with me against the wicked? * or who will take my part against the evil doers?
If the LORD had not helped me, it had not failed, * but my soul had been put to silence.
But when I said, My foot hath slipt; * thy mercy, O LORD, held me up.
In the multitude of the sorrows that I had in my heart, * thy comforts have refreshed my soul.
Wilt thou have any thing to do with the throne of wickedness, * which imagineth mischief as a law?
They gather them together against the soul of the righteous, * and condemn the innocent blood.
But the LORD is my refuge, *and my God is the strength of my confidence.
He shall recompense them their wickedness, and destroy them in their own malice; * yea, the LORD our God shall destroy them.
Don’t you just love the Psalms?