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Reflections on the 4th

Today I begin a 5-week period of renewal leave.  It is a time to rest and recharge.  It is a time to reflect and renew.  I will be writing about my renewal leave more extensively in The Wilderness Way #60 (see the Central Texas Conference Website, www.ctcumc.org). As I head out of the office, I find myself reflecting on this July 4th about America.  The wafting restrains of “God Bless America” sung over the exploding fireworks are pause for both celebration and thanksgiving. I’ve been on a prayer pilgrimage (with the help of a wonderful Jesuit priest) these past 6 months.  He has me taking more time for reflective listening to and for God.  I find my prayer life expanding beyond the simple “God give me” or “God I want variety.”  There is wonder and beauty all around us.  My hectic lifestyle gets in the way of giving God glory.  I continue my list of people, places and situations I pray for.  In fact, I invite you to join me in praying for our world; for those serving and facing combat that they might come home safely; for peace and compassion on all who are suffering.  As I follow the looming budget crisis in the United States (and in other places around the world), I would also ask that you join me in praying for our nation along with leaders in the government from both parties in a way that does not evoke a “them vs. us” confrontation but rather calls for common sacrifice and genuine good will.  Blaming doesn’t help.  Prayer does. We are blessed as a people and a nation.  In our blessing, we are blessed to be a blessing.  Genesis 12:2 applies to us as well as ancient Israel:  “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.”