God, don’t faint (OK, I know; “Thou faintest not, neither dost Thou slumber …”); I know that “vocal” prayers are rather uncommon for this Quaker. But silence doesn’t play well in print media!
I want to take this opportunity to give thanks for blessings enjoyed in this state, while adding the requisite caveat that I know Thy blessings are not confined by human-made borders.
We are partial to our “Tar Heel blue” skies, even while recognizing that everywhere Thy creatures enjoy an azure firmament. I am grateful for the incredible and varied landscape Thou hast favored us with here in North Carolina: ocean, mountains, plains, rolling foothills, and ever-changing but mostly mild weather.
And I am grateful for the human landscape that my physical and spiritual ancestors helped create here. They came even before there was a United States, attracted by the religious liberty this region offered.
They stayed long, helping create a progressive legacy of the Underground Railroad, coeducation, and peaceful relations with all, but when the practice of their religious liberty came into conflict with unjust laws, they chose to obey Thee rather than the state — and many left. I am grateful that the renewed vision of Thy peaceable kin(g)dom brought many back — building a “new” South, forging just relations between the races, and enjoying air-conditioning.
I am grateful that this state has continued to produce those who put a vision of peace, justice, integrity, and equality into action. Help us to be true to that heritage, even as things get, shall we say, “interesting” here. Give us wisdom; give us courage, lest we miss thy kin(g)dom’s goal. But I run the risk of plagiarizing Harry Emerson Fosdick — not a good thing to do as an academic!
Oh, and while I’m at it, basketball-crazed immigrant that I am from a Northern state settled by Tar Heel Quakers, how about another roundball championship for the state, not just for those blue- and red-clad folks in the Triangle, but one more for my little Quaker college here in the Piedmont! Amen.