Sunday, July 06, 2014

A Summer Holiday

Here in the eastern United States we are at the end of a three day holiday weekend. We celebrated the 283rd birthday of our nation on Friday, July 4th. In Boston the annual Boston Pops concert and fireworks were held on July 3rd evening because of the approach of Storm or Hurricane Arthur. From the top of our house in Boston we had a magnificent view of the Boston Pops fireworks off of the Esplanade. Barges anchored in the Charles River are used to hold the fireworks. I watched much of the concert on TV and then went up to our rooftop patio to view the huge lights of the fireworks. I think it is the best Fourth of July view I had ever enjoyed. Even though a storm was on its way. the skies were clear. We could see lights from shore points too. I enjoyed the festive mood at the concert. People of every race and color were singing together, waving the Stars and Stripes and having a grand time enjoying our common national birthday. So many of our national songs refer to God and his blessings: America the Beautiful...May God shed his grace on thee; God bless America and on and on. There is much to lament in our society today. However we are truly blessed in countless ways. We can practice our faith openly without fear of being locked up or sentenced to hard labor, or summarily executed. We can drive coast to coast on interstate highways, some even without tolls. Most of us enjoy running water, hot and cold water taps, heated and air conditioned homes and work spaces, fire stations and police which keep us safe. Communications via TV, radio, Internet, phone and other digital devices abound. Refugees living in tents with no potable running water, sanitation or ventilation long for a sliver of the comforts that even most of our poor enjoy. As we are plunged into the heat, fun, sun and toil of the height of summer may we pause and pray in thanksgiving for what we do have and take for granted in the USA and the free world. May we pray for the mounting number of refugees, especially in the Middle East. Many of these refugees are Catholics, Orthodox Christians and people of other Christian faiths whose lives are threatened by violence and a persecution. We pray too for immigrants seeking better lives. May we respect their humanity, because every human being is made in the image and likeness of God. Lately I "unfriended" a few names from my Face Book page. I did so because I do not want my page to be associated with people who use hate language; who refer to immigrants as being less than human; or as thugs and free loaders. Some whose description on their home pages boast of church membership use very "unchurchy" language whenever they speak of immigrants or of politicians with whom they disagree. Jesus told us in the seventh chapter of Matthew's gospel to "love our enemies, do good to those who persecute you..and you will be children of your father in heaven...". I know I am the granddaughter of immigrants on my father's side. On my mother's side, I remember great grandfather who was from Ireland. In my hometown there is an area, now sparsely populated that was once called "Monkey's Nest." When I was growing up there were Hispanic and Black residents mainly. But the name was bestowed in the early 1900's when Italian immigrants lived there. N o matter our ethnic heritage, we Americans are one nation under God. May we live up to the song titles "They Will Know That We Are Christians By Our Love, By Our Love...".

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