America Bless God

This was my newsletter article for June/July. It came out just before Memorial Day, so I thought I would share it here...

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless God’s holy name. Psalm 103:1

“America, Bless God!” I remember seeing this phrase on a homemade sign in Chester, VA in the days following September 11, 2001. I thought it interesting and strange at the time. I don’t know who wrote it or why, but I believe they were trying to make a different statement than “God, Bless America.” It reminds me of a time during prayer when Zoe said, “Daddy, you’re being kind of demanding to God.” Of course there is more to it than all of that. Scripture tells us “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

So, there is nothing wrong with asking God to bless America, but there is more to it than that. A blessing can mean many things. We often think of it as getting something good. Some people even use it to describe a state of providence in the midst of trials. “I am blessed.” has become a popular answer to the question, “How are you?” In the ancient temple practices, and in some churches today, items are blessed or dedicated for a particular function. Blessing equates to calling and service.

On Memorial Day and the Fourth of July we will honor and remember those who have served in the military and fought for our freedom. It is a good and appropriate thing to do. With these celebrations we must also find ways to give honor and glory to God. We must be certain that in blessing the Lord we are giving praise for God’s providence and seeking to serve as instruments of grace and peace. For this many have died. For this many of us live. For this - for the demonstration of God’s power to redeem and save - we were created. May God continue to bless our fellowship, as we seek ways to bless the Lord in our corporate and common lives. Amen!

As an addendum, I think the folks at www.dogblessyou.org have a good take on the above.
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