You don't need to be told that the Fourth of July is Saturday. Flags will be waving; people will don their red, white and blue; there will be a parade, complete with bagpipes, at Montreat; there will be neighborhood parades; we'll enjoy the TV broadcast of the concert on the Capitol Mall once again; families will gather for reunions; the grills will be lit and piled high with ribs or hamburgers and hotdogs, chicken or steak; ice cream churns will be at work. Hopefully, we will all remember to thank God for the freedom we enjoy.
It's a secular holiday, a day that commemorates our independence, a day when we celebrate our freedom as a nation. No one is more thankful, nor patriotic than I am. My mother's only brother spent 32 years in the army, beginning as an enlisted man in the cavalry and retiring as a full colonel. On his bookcase sat four purple hearts. Tom was an artillery officer, serving a year in the Vietnam conflict. I do not have to be reminded of the price our military men and women have paid for our freedom. I know too well. It's a part of my family.
I am also mindful of the freedom I, as a believer, have in Jesus Christ. That freedom also came with a price, but one I did not have to pay. Were I too praise God constantly for the rest of my days, it would not be enough to express my gratitude for such freedom.
In many churches on Sunday, flags will be waving and patriotic songs will be sung. No doubt hearts will be stirred with the strains of "God Bless America." How our country was founded is important history, but even more important is how our Christian beliefs will affect our future. The church where I am currently preaching dubs the Sunday closest to the Fourth as Patriotic Sunday. I have been presented with, "This is what we do" and have struggled as I've tried to pair that with my conviction of what worship truly is. Please pray that God alone will be glorified.