Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Fourth of July at Christ’s Church in Pensacola

We usually make it to the early service at Christ’s Church, Pensacola, but this Sunday we took it easy, and headed to the second service instead. AdventureMan loves the second service for the music; I love it because sometimes our son and his family are there and we get to sit together.

Father Neil gave a thought-provoking sermon, as usual, incorporating some of the things he learned serving as a chaplain to our American troops in the desert in Kuwait. During communion, the choir sang a song known by some as the Navy Hymn and by others as the Armed Forces Hymn. The last two lines of each chorus pray for our men and women “in peril” on land or sea or in the air. While I am a stoic, that song shakes me to my core, and brings tears to my eyes.

At the end of the service, just after the recessional, our superb music director, Kenneth Keredine, with two fellow musicians on drum and cymbals, played a rousing Sousa march, a joyful and happy way to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend.

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July 4, 2011 Posted by | Community, Cultural, ExPat Life, Holiday, Spiritual | | 3 Comments

Episcopal Reading for the Fourth of July

For those in a hurry, in addition to the daily readings in The Lectionary, there is a small booklet, Forward Day by Day, which prints a short reading for each day.

I love the reading for today:

Today’s Meditation

monday, july 4 independence day

Deuteronomy 10:17-21. For the Lord your God is…the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe…and who loves the strangers.

In the reading from Deuteronomy, Moses charges Israel to love the stranger, because the people of Israel were once strangers in Egypt. In Mark, Jesus entreats us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us because God is not partial. The sun rises on the just and the unjust.

It is easy for us to love friends and people like ourselves. Christians are called to greater challenge: to create a community in which we love the stranger and pray for the one who wants to do us harm.

I remember standing on the Lake Erie shore and reading that during the War of 1812 soldiers died there so that the lake would not belong to the British. The British were the bad guys. A little over a hundred years later, the United States fought two World Wars on the side of Great Britain. The British were good guys. In the intervening years, each country learned to see the other not as evil strangers, but as allies with common interests.

As we give thanks for our country, let us accept the challenge to create a community that includes those who might be our enemies, the people who today don’t seem to be one with us. Our perspective can change.

PRAY for the Diocese of Ottawa (Ontario, Canada)

Ps 145 * 145:1-9; Hebrews 11:8-16; Matthew 5:43-48

July 4, 2011 Posted by | Community, ExPat Life, Holiday, Political Issues, Spiritual, Values | | 2 Comments