Freedom for all

July 4 gives Americans reason to celebrate. Gratitude for the gift of freedom will be a different reality this year in light of COVID protocols. Nevertheless, during this day on which we give thanks for our many blessings, let us take time and pray for those whose freedoms are at risk, especially victims of racism and migrants, people yearning to breathe free, and able to enjoy the freedoms that we sometimes take for granted.

May we be renewed in our efforts to advocate for all those whose human dignity and basic needs are oppressed. “For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” (Nelson Mandela)




We lift up our hearts, O God, on this day of celebration
in gratitude for the gift of being Americans.

We rejoice with all those who share in
the great dream of freedom and dignity for all.

With flags and feasting, with family and friends,
we salute those who have sacrificed
that we might have the opportunity to bring to fulfillment
our many God-given gifts.

As we deny all prejudice a place in our hearts,
may we also clearly declare our intention
to work for the time when all people,
regardless of race, religion or sex,
will be granted equal dignity and worth.

Come, O gracious God, who led your children Israel from slavery,
keep us free from all that might hold us in bondage.

Bless our country and join our simple celebration
that we may praise you, our Source of freedom,
the One in whom we place our trust. Amen!

─Ed Hays
A Pilgrim's Almanac: Reflections for Each Day of the Year, p. 111