Independence Day, July 4

Lord God Almighty, in whose Name the founders of this country won liberty for themselves and for us, and lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn: Grant we beseech thee, that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain our liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Lesson: Deuteronomy 10:17-21
Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt. Fear the LORD your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.

Second Lesson: Hebrews 11:8-16
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

By faith Abraham, even though he was past age--and Sarah herself was barren--was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Psalm: 145 or 145:1-9

  1. I will exalt you, O God my King, *
    and bless your Name for ever and ever.
  2. Every day will I bless you *
    and praise your Name for ever and ever.
  3. Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised; *
    there is no end to his greatness.
  4. One generation shall praise your works to another *
    and shall declare your power.
  5. I will ponder the glorious splendor of your majesty *
    and all your marvelous works.
  6. They shall speak of the might of your wondrous acts, *
    and I will tell of your greatness.
  7. They shall publish the remembrance of your great goodness; *
    they shall sing of your righteous deeds.
  8. The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, *
    slow to anger and of great kindness.
  9. The LORD is loving to everyone *
    and his compassion is over all his works.
  10. All your works praise you, O LORD, *
    and your faithful servants bless you.
  11. They make known the glory of your kingdom *
    and speak of your power;
  12. That the peoples may know of your power *
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
  13. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; *
    your dominion endures throughout all ages.
  14. The LORD is faithful in all his words *
    and merciful in all his deeds.
  15. The LORD upholds all those who fall; *
    he lifts up those who are bowed down.
  16. The eyes of all wait upon you, O LORD, *
    and you give them their food in due season.
  17. You open wide your hand *
    and satisfy the needs of every living creature.
  18. The LORD is righteous in all his ways *
    and loving in all his works.
  19. The LORD is near to those who call upon him, *
    to all who call upon him faithfully.
  20. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; *
    he hears their cry and helps them.
  21. The LORD preserves all those who love him, *
    but he destroys all the wicked.
  22. My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD; *
    let all flesh bless his holy Name for ever and ever.

Gospel: Matthew 5:43-48
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Collect & Psalm from the Book of Common Prayer
Other excerpts from the New International Bible

Holy Days