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Thoughts on the National Day of Prayer

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Given at a National Day of Prayer Service in Colorado Springs, May 3, 2007

My name is Linda Seger. I'm a member of the Colorado Springs Friends Meeting, (Quaker) and also the author of a book on religion and politics called JESUS RODE A DONKEY: WHY THE REPUBLICANS DON'T HAVE A CORNER ON CHRIST. Or, another subtitle might be, Why Millions of Christians are Democrats or Christian Values from the Viewpoint of the Democratic Party. Obviously, I'm a Democrat.

I would be considered, by many, to be a Christian Progressive and a Spiritual Progressive. As a Quaker, I'm a Christian Pacifist, who has friends in the military that I pray for. Since I grew up as the granddaughter of a Lutheran minister, some might consider me a Mainstream Christian and since I went to a liberal seminary in Berkeley, the center of liberalism and radicalism, I might be considered by some to be a Liberal Christian. A conservative Christian Republican friend of mine told me that I'm a traditional Christian with a liberal sociology. And, to further confuse the matter, I'm a Born Again Christian, and had a Born Again experience while a student at Colorado College in the 1960's, when I attended the Bible Church in back of the college and got involved with the Navigators, a conservative Christian group that works to some extent with the military. All of this is to say that none of us are so easily categorized.

Religious classifications so often try to put us into categories, so we can decide who's in, who's out, and who is The Other. Who is the person truly different from us. Who are the people in The Other Camp. And The Other keeps changing. Sometimes it's the person of another religion or race or gender orientation. In Colorado Springs, The Other that many have trouble with are the conservative Christians, who are praying somewhere else in this city, who probably have bigger attendance than we do, and who often have trouble with those of us here.

But the National Day of Prayer is supposed to transcend this. For today, there is not supposed to be any Other, but only Us. And the Us is a big, big category that unifies rather than divides, that overcomes divisions with peace, that looks for the Spirit that brings us together.

And whatever we might call that Spirit - whether Almighty God, Our Savior, Our Lord, Compassionate One, the Holy Spirit or Divine Spirit or the Blessed One, the Inner Light, perhaps, for right now, we might call it The Kindred Spirit and the Uniting Spirit, that Loving Presence that transcends boundaries and brings us together to connect with The Sacred and The Divine in each one of us - whether conservatives or liberals, Buddhists or Christian or Jewish or Muslim or Bahai or New Age or Wiccan or whatever we might call ourselves, knowing that we are more than our boundaries, and that the Spirit, hopefully at least for today, goes far beyond any categories that we might create. This is the day that we might do what Quakers are called to do - to listen, not for what divides us, but for how the Spirit is speaking to us, through the prayers and the sermons and the thoughts that we read and hear.

I would like to offer a prayer by Joan Metzner, from the book EARTH PRAYERS.

PRAYER:

Here we are, God - a planet at prayer. Attune our spirits that we may hear your harmonies and bow before your creative power,

That we may face our violent discords and join with your Energy to make heard in every heart your hymn of peace.

Here we are, God - a militarized planet. Transform our fears that we may transform our war fields into wheat-fields, arms into handshakes, missiles into messengers of peace.

Here we are, God - a polluted planet. Purify our vision that we may perceive ways to purify our beloved lands, cleanse our previous waters, de-smog our life-giving air.

Here we are, God - an exploited planet. Heal our heart, that we may respect our resources, hold priceless our people, and provide for our starving children and abundance of daily bread. AMEN.