I am thankful for Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and Rep. John Lewis, who made me cry when he told the story of growing up in a segregated South. I remember. Thank you for these men and women,like Senators Warren, Boxer, Duckworth, and our very own Rep Sara Acres Gelser, and so many other women and men who work tirelessly fighting to do good by all people. They inspire us to be our better selves.
And we need that inspiration, lest we confuse being prosperous with being a people of good character, lest we mistake overbearing patriarchy for the promise of protection, lest we are misled by propaganda instead of being informed by the free press, and lest we mistake the self-serving for those who truly serve.
Help us, God, to use our faith not as a bullying platform to oppress the scared and weak, the elderly and the vulnerable, who are poor in spirit and pocketbook. May we avoid the every increasing temptation to use our religious convictions to push for public policy by which we oppress others in order to enrich our own lives. Jerk us back from the self-destruction of self-righteousness. Make us ever grateful, ever kind, ever thoughtful, and ever aware that it is our moral obligation to do more, give more, be more because we have been given so much more here in America.
Give strength and protection to our brothers and sisters in North Dakota who already understand that there are some things more precious than gold. There is land and sky, rivers and streams. There is family, both present and long gone, to cherish and to live rightly by. And there is the story that we are all writing with our lives, a story that will be repeated for untold generations that will bear witness to whether we were a good people or an evil people. Help us to always prefer and choose goodness.
Oh, one more thing to confess, God. I still don’t understand this holiday. This mix of love of God and devotion to a country that oppressed a people to free a people. A holiday of gratefulness for all we have already followed by the obscene pursuit of having even more. But maybe I’m overthinking it. I have a tendency to do that.
You’re the best, God. Always standing with us despite our many failings. Some days I know we embarrass you half-to-death. I’m so sorry. I wish we were a better people. Help us out with that, would you?