Monday, May 26, 2014
God, Bless America?
It isn't a command, right? We're not ordering the creator of the universe to bless us.
And it isn't a statement of fact in the sense that we believe God blesses America more than any other country or people.
When we say, "God bless America," we are in fact asking God to bless America. We're requesting assistance from God and Heaven for all the pursuits of truth and freedom we believe in. We're praying for God's help and protection. We're asking God to bless our troops who defend this country we love, and we're asking God to keep them and our country safe from harm.
I can't help but philosophize about the phrase, because I hear it so often. I don't hear, "God, bless my enemies," even though Jesus specifically told us to love our enemies and pray for those who hurt us. Instead, I just hear people asking the creator of the universe to bless this one country.
And guess what? I want God to bless this country, and her people too! I want God's blessings and protection whenever I can get them! I love God more than my country, but I love my country too! I love the troops who protect my country, and I want God to protect them always. I genuinely believe we have an amazing country here, and whenever I come back to this land after venturing off to any of the other countries I've been lucky enough to visit, I always thank my blessings for this land I love.
But I cannot stop reminding people of the truths I began this reflection with: God is not our slave, waiting for a command from us like, "Bless America...now!" and God is not blessing any country or religious group more than another. When we put our focus on the love of God, the one who speaks through his children of forgiveness and prayer, kindness and peace, we cannot help but already feel the blessings God gives us.
So God, please bless America? Please bless our troops just the way I pray you bless all troops in all countries on Earth. I know you do not bless all ideologies of those whose aim is to bring about pain and death, judgment and slavery, but I pray you bless us all with the knowledge and spirit we need to make this a better planet. I pray you bless America with the wisdom and insight necessary to make it an even greater country than it already is. I pray you bless our leaders, of all political parties, with that same wisdom and insight. And I pray my "God, bless America" prayer with all humility and gratitude for all the blessings I have received as a citizen of this great, great, great nation. Amen, and thank you!