Good morning on this American Independence Day – the 4th of July – the day back in 1776 when thirteen colonies declared themselves a new nation, the United States of America, no longer part of the British Empire. On that day, a certain John Adams wrote to his wife that he hoped the occasion would be remembered by succeeding generations as a day of deliverance - with solemn acts of dedication to Almighty God as well as parades and parties. With only a few months since the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States and much controversy over his manner of dealing with matters of state, it remains to be seen how exuberant the Independence celebrations will be today. But whatever our opinions about the way the most powerful man in the world fulfils his responsibilities, we should nevertheless be concerned about the issues affected by his actions. We live in a society in which politics has become a badge of identity. Many see their political side as the force for good and their other side as the total opposite. Perhaps we need to remember that any elected official – even a president – will have many expert advisers giving counsel, and many of these experts will see things differently. We should therefore pray that all set in authority will have the foresight to differentiate between all the competing options in a way that benefits both the country over which they have influence and the rest of the world. Lord, as we stand with the people of the United States celebrating their Independence Day, we rejoice in the liberty you have graciously given us for this generation and for the generations to come. May we commit ourselves to honouring and serving you wholeheartedly with everything that we are. Amen.