As an American citizen, I love my country. How can you be born in a place like this and not be moved by its sacrifices for freedom? I realize that we are an imperfect people. No system – political, religious, civic, etc. can be perfect as long as people are involved. We’ve made our mistakes as a nation, yet this country still stands as a great hope in the world. The U.S. has a history of confronting differences. Many of these differences have had deep roots and in some cases such as the Civil War, consensus has been bought by blood.
Our nation stands at a crossroads. We are in disagreement as to how basic building blocks of our nation should function, things such as relationships, family, property rights, etc.
As I reflected upon these differences, I was reminded of a time when our founding fathers were at a crossroads of disagreement as to how to frame our national Constitution. When the delegates of the Continental Congress reached this impasse, Benjamin Franklin offered a solution that brought them through:
“The small progress we have made after four or five weeks close attendance and continual reasonings with each other……is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding….
How has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend?
I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that ‘except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall be become a reproach and a bye word down to future age.
I therefore beg leave to move — that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service.”
I don’t want the dream that is America to end. I want it to continue. The words spoken before the Continental Congress were spoken by a man many claimed to be a Deist. But, why would a man who claimed that God creates and then leaves things alone insist upon a cry to Heaven?
May the wisdom of Franklin’s words guide us to our safe haven.
Lord, hear our cry!!!! Come heal our land! As we call on your Name, will you make this a place for Your glory to dwell?