Tomorrow is the 4th of July and my mind has been thinking a great deal on this since so much is going on in our country.
What does it mean when we celebrate the 4th of July? Many people have the feeling that it is a great day to have picnics, watch fireworks and spend time with family. Celebrations can be seen throughout the United States as Independence day is ushered in.
The observance of the 4th of July gets me a bit upset though. Not because we are celebrating our independence, but because I feel the meaning is lost now days. When I think about what the 4th of July means to me, I think about the lives that were lost so I can have the freedoms I enjoy. Recently there has been many issues in the news that makes me really consider my freedom to choose and also how freedoms of choice are being taken away.
The United States has more freedoms than any other country. Our freedoms include freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly. For me the most important of all freedoms is in the freedom to believe in Christ. Not all countries have this freedom and everyday Christians are being persecuted. It is going on even in our own country. I have chosen to remember the freedom that Christ gave us.
I do my churches power-points and I have been toying around with what types of pictures and such I should include in the power-points. While I think it is important to show our support for our country, during worship services we should be worshiping Christ. With all the world events going on around us, I think we need to focus more on Christ instead of all the political correctness since many things in the world are far from what God wants us to be doing. I am proud to be an American and I am eternally grateful for those who have fought for our freedoms. But, and I know I will have opposition on this thought, should be intertwine the two into one.
As a Christian, my first loyalty is to the Kingdom of God. I wonder if we are getting further away from God when we devote so much of our time to the things of this world. Slowly we are becoming a nation of accepting anything in the name of unity instead of setting ourselves apart. Don’t get me wrong, I love America and I do celebrate Independence Day, but should we be putting so much emphasis on these celebrations at church. I guess with everything going on in the world, I find myself getting distracted and the lines are blurred more than ever.
John 18:36- Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.“ I guess I have been thinking about this a lot lately since the changes in the law, murders in the churches, flag burnings, abortions and such.
As I was looking up what others believe about the 4th of July, I came across a page that had speeches that were said by various presidents. I would like to share just a couple of them with you all.
- President Andrew Jackson: “I nightly offer up my prayers to the throne of grace for the health and safety of you all, and that we ought all to rely with confidence on the promise of our dear Redeemer, and give Him our hearts. This is all He requires and all that we can do, and if we sincerely do this, we are sure of salvation through His atonement.”
- President Abraham Lincoln: “The ways of God are mysterious and profound beyond all comprehension. ‘Who by searching can find Him out?’ God only knows the issue of this business. He has destroyed nations from the map of history for their sins. Nevertheless, my hopes prevail generally above my fears for our Republic. The times are dark, the spirits of ruin are abroad in all their power, and the mercy of God alone can save us.”
- President George Washington wrote a prayer addressed to “O most glorious God, in Jesus Christ” and ended it with this: “Let me live according to those holy rules which thou hast this day prescribed in Thy Holy Word. Direct me to the true object, Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life. Bless O Lord all the people of this land.”
I would like to thank all of those who fought for our freedoms. Blood has been shed so we can all have the freedoms we have. I choose not to take my freedom for granted. The freedoms I enjoy have come at the highest cost ever. I pray that I live my life in a way that glorifies Christ. My prayer is that I am able to focus more on Christ than on world conditions. Our nation is getting further and further away from God. I have no problem with being patriotic, but again, I wonder if we are focusing too much on patriotism instead of God.
I don’t know what my pastors feelings are on this subject, but I do wonder in general what pastors feel personally about celebration of patriotic holidays in church. I didn’t really think much on it till this last week. There are many views on this subject. Some believe it is idolatry or think it is just plain wrong to show grand displays of patriotism during church services since we are there to worship God not country. What are your thoughts? Should Sunday Worship services be used for the sole purpose of worshiping God or is it OK to celebration national holidays/celebrations?
In closing, I have just this one last thought… Are we considered One Nation Under God anymore? I’m not sure if that is true anymore since God is being taken out of everything and booted to the curb.