Luther Seminary God Pause
Sunday, 7/6/2014 Hymn: "God Bless Our Native Land," ELW 891
God bless our native land; firm may it ever stand through storm and night. When the wild tempests rave, Ruler of wind and wave, do thou our country save by thy great might.
So shall our prayers arise to God above the skies, on whom we wait. Thou who art ever nigh, guarding with watchful eye, to thee aloud we cry: God save the state!>
I hosted a trip to Italy for 20 members of my congregation in September 2001. Originally, 42 people had planned to travel with me. The events of that awful day, though, reduced the number to 20. The State Department had cleared us for travel, but we had also thought we were safe in our own land against such vicious attacks. How could we be sure we would be safe on foreign soil? We will always be on the alert, both here and abroad after 9/11. We know that the freedoms that we have fought for and cherish can be taken away.
Our group was pleasantly surprised by the welcome we received from the people of Italy. First of all, they expressed their sorrow for our loss. But what was most helpful was their thankfulness for delivering them from the German occupation during World War II. They pointed out the thousands of tombstones marking the graves of United States soldiers who had given their lives to secure Italy's freedom in a nightmarish time in their history. They loved us.
Just as the people of Italy were thankful for their freedoms, we are also thankful. And we ask God to save us and preserve that freedom. "God bless our native land; firm may it ever stand through storm and night."
O God, we know that it is your desire that all of your children should enjoy peace and freedom. May we stand alongside of all people everywhere as they strive for just and lasting peace. Thank you for the wondrous gifts you have given us. Most of all, we thank you for the salvation you have given all your children through Jesus, your son and our deliverer. Amen.
Hubert Nelson Eden Prairie, Minn. Master of Divinity, 1962
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