We invited Chalice Press author Reverend Sandhya Rani Jha to offer a prayer for Independence Day. 

God of all nations and ours,

As we ask the long-posed question, "does that star spangled banner yet wave/
o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?",  help us make this land free

  • free from hatred of religious minorities
  • free from exploitation of laborers
  • free from damage to the land and water so long cared for by our indigenous brothers and sisters
  • free from contempt for immigrants who invest in this nation's thriving
  • free from the new slavery of the prison system that tears apart so many Black and Brown families.

And help us be brave

  • brave in the face of religious and racial violence;
  • brave in contrast to the cowardice that would pit us against each other based on race or class;
  • brave in order to care for refugees of all sorts as our scripture calls us to
  • brave in order to do your will even when doing so is unpopular. 

After all, our founding fathers were not very popular with the British.

God, even as we celebrate the blessings of this nation, help us be humble enough to know that you really are the God of all nations, and that you do not honor human-made boundaries but honor the divinity and dignity of each person whom you made in your own image. May we remember that as we live as Americans in this complex global landscape. 

And in so doing, may we truly do you honor as we seek truly and earnestly to be the land where all are free and the home where your followers are brave in good doing.


Listen to Sandhya Jha read her prayer:
Sandhya Rani Jha serves as Director of the Oakland Peace Center, a collective of innovative non-profits working to create justice and peace in the city of Oakland and the Bay Area. The OPC is also a physical space, and the legacy project of First Christian Church of Oakland, where Sandhya pastored for seven years.

Ordained in 2005 at National City Christian Church in Washington, DC, Sandhya’s passion is liberation ethics as an academic field and as a lived experience in urban communities. Sandhya is an anti-racism/anti-oppression trainer with the Disciples of Christ, a regular public speaker and preacher, and a consultant for Hope Partnership’s New Beginnings program. Sandhya also serves as Director of Interfaith Programs at East Bay Housing Organizations, a membership organization that works to preserve, protect and expand affordable housing opportunities through education, advocacy and coalition-building in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.

T he daughter of a mother from Scotland and a father from India, Sandhya has been shaped by both cultures and their values. Sandhya received both a Master of Divinity and Master of Public Policy from the University of Chicago in 2005, where her joint thesis was on the subject of “Public Goods, Public Bads, the Common Good and the Common Burden: Environmental Racism as a case study on the intersection of Public Policy and Theological Ethics.” It probably goes without saying that she gets far more excited about urban policy than a normal person should.

Pre-order your copy of Transforming Communities and don't pay until it ships (November 2017)!
Other books by Sandhya Rani Jha (available now--click the covers to order)
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