Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The "Offensive" Name of Our Lord and Saviour

The name of Jesus, offends the Pa General Assembly (Hat tip to the Beautiful and talented Mrs Powel).

This is more historic amnesia, as we see from this prayer to open the Continental Congress in 1774, taken from one of many sites from New York Patriot Hercules Mulligan. This is a beautful prayer in the Anglican tradition which Quakers, Deists, Presbyterians, and Independents were willing to join in:

King of Kings and Lord of lords: who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth and reignest with power supreme & uncontrouled over all kingdoms, empires and governments, look down in mercy,we beseech thee, upon these our American states who have fled to thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves upon thy gracious protection, desiring henceforth to be dependent only on thee. To thee they have appealed for the righteousness of their Cause; to Thee do they look up, for that countenance & support which Thou alone canst give. Take them, therefore, Heavenly Father, under thy nurturing care: give them wisdom in council, valour in the field. Defeat the malicious designs of our cruel adversaries. Convince them of the unrighteousness of their cause. And if they persist in their sanguinary purposes, O! let the voice of thy unerring justice sounding in their hearts constrain them to drop the weapons of war from their enerved hands in the day of battle. Be thou present, O God of Wisdom and direct the counsels of this honourable Assembly. Enable them to settle things upon the best and surest foundation, that the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that harmony and peace may effectually be restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety prevail and flourish amongst thy people. Preserve the health of their bodies and the vigour of their minds; shower down upon them and the millions they represent(13) such temporal blessings as Thou seest expedient for them in this world, and crown them with everlasting glory in the world to come. All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ thy son, Our Saviour, Amen.


Ethan said...

Ah, the scandal of particularity. But it is what makes Christianity "Christian." Love the prayer!

The Midland Agrarian said...

Indeed: both a scandal and a stumbling block!

I dislike generic public prayers as they try to repackage the Triune God into a generic Civil religion American god to do our bidding. However, it seems that only the explicitly Christian invocations are found offensive in the public square not those of other particular faiths.

I would love to hear how any pastors reading handle this coplex issue.

Christopher said...

The two different times in two different years that I gave the invocation before our state legislature (in Kentucky), I prayed in Jesus' Name. No one asked to pre-approve my prayers. If someone had, and had objected to my closing, I would have declined the invitation.

I know that not all the members of the House were of the Christian faith, but how else could I, a Christian minister, pray? If, alternatively, a minister from another religion was called on, I would certainly expect that person to abide by that tradition's customs. That's what toleration to me means--letting each faith exercise its own customs freely in a free nation.

That has been several years ago now, I have no idea if the practice has changed. I know this has been controversial throughout the country.