23 November 2023, Anno Domini
Our Anglican church in Heritage is based on a series of national churches. Before this this nation began, it was a colony of Great Britain. Amongst the first people here to settle here were the Pilgrims. At the conclusion of their first harvest, they established what became our practice of a Thanksgiving Day. When we give thanks, to whom is that thanks due? To some nameless, nondescript entity to the world in general? The people who established that first Thanksgiving Day, would tell you, without a doubt thanksgiving is due to our creator, to God Almighty. Our founding our country’s founding document, the Declaration of Independence, avers the government’s power comes directly from our Creator. Our gratitude must be to him. If you look in the 1928 Book of Common prayer, on Page 36, written below, you will find a prayer for our country. I ask you take the time to read it right now and think on it deeply.
For Our Country.
ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
God has given us a unique opportunity in history. This is the first nation whose establishment was by a God guided group of well-educated people whose desire was for freedom. Freedom to go about our lives in peace, to worship God in a manner of our own choosing. It was not freedom from worship, but freedom to worship. They did not intend to force anyone to worship in a particular manner, or to worship at all. However, the founding fathers recognized with that without God’s guidance this country, as every other country, would be doomed to failure.
The country was established as a republic with democratic representation. It is not a democracy. It was not intended to be able to democracy. Democracies are nothing but mob rule and mobs are ruled by a very small minority.
As we reflect on our country’s progress from its initial establishment as a tiny outpost of Great Britain to its current position as the leader of the Free World, we see it peaked out when people began to think its success was totally due to them and not as a result of following God’s guidance. God favored us because we followed His Instruction. When we quit following His Instructions, the result is fairly evident. Bishop Jack often talks of what happens when you follow your own sense of direction. People have gotten lost and died in a one square mile section of Forrest following there. If we lose God’s guidance, we are lost.
People say this is not a Christian nation, and never was. I am not really sure how you define a Christian nation. I am absolutely sure this was a nation of Christians, and when it was such a nation it prospered. There is no way for us to prosper without being a nation of Christians.
Let us give thanks for the opportunity God has given us and do our very best to follow His Wishes and do His Will.
On this Thanksgiving Day, I pray that you will recognize the unique opportunities we have in this country, give thanks to the Lord, and go forth in His Name.
A Happy & Blessed Thanksgiving!
Office of the Presiding Bishop
Anglican Orthodox Church of the United States of America