A prayer for community in our nation.

On the Fourth of July and on other patriotic holidays we have the opportunity to celebrate our national community. And the recent tragedies in California and Florida have provided occasions for bring the nation together.

Just how nationalism fits in with our belonging to a global community may not be a simple matter, however.

The terrorist attack on our cultural cousins in Western Europe elicited greater empathy than bombings in Turkey, Bangladesh, or Iraq, although the latter were more vicious.

The media coverage of atrocities around the world certainly make them very present to us. But the media’s hunger for the “new” also shortens our attention span as our interest shifts from one thing to the next.

In the midst of this global interdependence, there is still room for the national community where we can attend to immediate needs of the imprisoned, of those with addictions and cancer, of immigrants who have lived among us and who work here, and of our countrymen and women who struggle daily in an economy that does not offer opportunities to everyone equally.

“America the Beautiful,” a favorite patriotic hymn sung in many churches, does pray that God bless us with brotherhood.