Blessed is the Nation

Blessed is the Nation

Key Texts: Psalm 33:12

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.

Typically, I try to stay away from posting anything that might be seen as a political statement as that is not the main purpose of the blog: it’s a devotional offering.

Still, I find that as I come across this scripture in the lectionary texts of the Revised Common Lectionary for this week, I can’t help but note that we are on the verge of Memorial Day Weekend.

And so, I want to do two things with this quick post.

  1. I want to affirm that I feel blessed as a citizen of my nation, the United States, and am thankful for the great sacrifice of my fellow countrymen and women over the years, in service to their country and the larger world. My own father was a veteran of WWII, an honorable man, a member of the “Greatest Generation,” a career VA Chaplain, and for his life and service I am most grateful.
  2. I also want to affirm that any nation, including my own, is certainly not perfect. Nations are made up of people, good, bad, and somewhere in between. I do not blindly support everything my nation as a whole has done – simply because I am an American.  I do not support every single thing any one particular political party does or has done – simply because of my own political leanings.  Nor do I think anyone should pledge allegiance to any national program above God, even while I do pledge allegiance to my own country’s flag.

And there you have the tension within which I think believers and followers of Christ must live.

We are Christ-followers first and foremost – and members of the kingdom of God.

We are also citizens – and our country deserves our support.

We must, therefore, prayerfully – always prayerfully – consider our responsibilities as both.

I for one do not easily tell my countrymen and women how to think, or act, or vote.  I believe and trust in their ability to do that on their own.

I do pray for us all as a people – and am thankful for how God has blessed us as a people, and as individuals.

None of us is perfect.  No nation is perfect.  No political party is perfect.  Only God is perfect.

Yet, I would ask this of my fellow citizens: as we remember and honor those who have died for freedom and democracy, may we re-commit ourselves to being good citizens – both of our nation – and the kingdom of God – with God guiding us each step of the way.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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