July 4th is here again and I wonder how do I pray for America?
The news drifts in from the living room telling of war, politics, strategies and tragedies. In between stories I hear words tossed around like “liberal” and “conservative” or “left” and “right.”
This phrase drifts into my heart, Bring us back to the middle, Lord.
And I realize I’m not thinking of politics or policies. No, instead I mean the middle of God’s love, the center of His will, the hollow of His hand.
For there the answer lies, really.
As a counseling intern, friend, human, I have sat with the people I stereotype. And whenever I get past my own silly ideas I always find someone who is more like me than not.
But somehow we get tangled up in who’s who and what’s what until we forget that we’re all just in need of a Savior. We label, compartmentalize, and separate. Pushing away from those unlike us, we find ourselves at one end of the spectrum or the other.
Because it’s easier to hold a sign than embrace a sinner. It’s more convenient to hide behind a pulpit (and we all have one) than to offer real grace to a person. It’s simpler to talk about what’s wrong and right than to admit that we are all messy, mixed up and in this together.
So this 4th of July I’m asking God to bring us back to the middle–to the place where our hearts connect, our hands touch, our lives intertwine despite our differences.
I hesitate for a moment, understanding this is not an easy place to be. We’re far more likely to be misunderstood, hurt, and uncomfortable here.
But then I picture Him stretched out, arms open, a wooden beam reaching from left to right. And I realize where this center place is–at the base of the other beam–the one stretching from heaven to earth.
The foot of the cross is the middle.
Lord, may we be one nation under God…