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A Closer Walk

Greg Worthen
This coming Monday May 25th is Memorial Day. A day our country has chosen to set aside to remember those who have passed on before us. Our Memorial Day was originally a commemoration for soldiers who died in battle during the American Civil War. But the custom of placing flowers on the graves of soldiers dates back to antiquity. In current times many people include the graves of family and friends in the decorations. But it is also a day to reflect on the country we have been given by those very ancestors whose graves we may choose to decorate.

The Continental Congress on September 6, 1774, passed a resolution, "...that the Rev. Mr. Duche` be desired to open Congress tomorrow morning with prayer.” Here is a part of that prayer. “O Lord! Our heavenly Father, high and mighty, King of Kings, Lord of Lords,who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers on earth, and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all kingdoms, empires, and governments. Look down in mercy, we beseech thee, on these American States who have fled to thee from the rod of the oppressor, and thrown themselves on thy gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent only on thee ... All this we ask in the name, and through the merits of Jesus Christ thy son and our Savior. Amen.” (Thatcher's Military Biography, pg. 121) This was sourced at Beyond Today/blogs. Opening the daily activities of the U. S. Congress with prayer is a national tradition that continues even to this very day.

In the summer of 1776 the delegates meeting in Philadelphia to put together the Declaration of Independence relied on "Divine Providence," their words. Our country has and continues to rely on Divine Providence even to this day. So we might agree that, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance," Psalm 33:12 KJV. This passage is addressed to God's chosen people, the ancient Israelites; who are now the modern day nation of Israel and the Jews. A people for God's own possession the Bible calls them. But the passage is also instruction for us, God's children. (“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,” John 1:12 NASB.)

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. Why is that nation blessed? First: “I am the Lord, and there is no other; Beside Me there is no God...,” Isaiah 45:5 NASB. Further, “...And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me,” Isaiah 45:21 NASB. Second: “...From whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth...The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not smite you by day, Nor the moon by night. The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in From this time forth and forever,” Psalm 121: 1-2 and 5-8 NASB.

During this Memorial Day Holiday weekend, we can be grateful for the gift of this special and beloved nation of ours. Special in its founding. Special in its keeping over the past 200-plus years. And special in that our forebears passed on to us a nation of individual freedom, individual human rights, and indeed a nation that is blessed because the Lord is our God. “America! America! God shed His grace on thee! And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea,” Katharine Lee Bates (1859-1929).


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