Picnics. Parades. Fireworks. Maybe even a day at the beech. Another Independence Day, complete with fun-filled family times, as we pause to celebrate our freedoms and remember those who have valiantly defended it, is upon us.
However, not everyone sees this holiday as an occasion for remembering the courage and commitment of the founders of our nation and those who have sacrificed to preserve our freedom. Additionally, fewer and fewer people see this as a time for reflecting on the rich Christian heritage of our nation. It seems that some view this holiday like all the others—just another opportunity to party.
Perhaps it is time for some reflection and analysis.
For example, when we lived in Delaware, it was difficult to overlook our heritage. We often drove past historical markers for significant events in the Revolutionary War of Independence. One example of how close we were to this history was the site of the Battle of Brandywine, which took place on September 11, 1777. British troops under the command of General Howe gathered in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, which was just barely more than a stone’s throw away from our home. Actually, Howe’s overland route from the Chesapeake Bay to Kennett Square likely took him within a few hundred yards of the location of our home. General Washington chose to defend the strategic high ground near Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. The location of this battle has been designated as a national historic site. We often drove by this site during our day-to-day activities.
There are so many similar examples. In Delaware, the first state to ratify the United States Constitution, one of the communities near our home in Hockessin, was the historic City of New Castle. It was founded in 1651. I had many business lunches at Jessop’s Tavern, which dates back to 1724. The nation’s oldest church building, still standing as originally built, known as Old Swedes Church, is located in Old New Castle, Delaware. This church was constructed in 1698-1699; and, it is still used regularly for worship.
On-and-on the list could go. I could write about the things we saw and did in and around Philadelphia, just a thirty minute’s drive from our home; Washington, D.C., which was less than two hours away; or, New York City, which was just over two hours away. So much of our nation’s grand history was just around the corner from where we lived. It would be next to impossible to miss it. One would have to want to ignore it, in my estimation, in order to be untouched by the presence of such poignant and prolific historical surroundings.
Oh, how things have changed since the first immigrants arrived on these eastern shores. One example of this is found in a book on the American Revolution by Robert Wood. He states that “in revolutionary America, the Word of God was in every man’s mouth. Religion was a burning issue in pulpit and politics both.”
If it were possible for any one of our Founding Fathers to visit us today, it is my opinion that our technological advancements would not impress them half as much as the organized attempts to eradicate religion from our lives. We are living in a day in which even the Supreme Court of our land has been chided for attempting to create a society sanitized of public religious influence.
Before there was an American Revolution, Queen Elizabeth I reigned in England (1558-1603). During this time, people gained ready access to the Bible in their native language. The influence of God’s Word greatly improved the moral responsibility among the people. In fact, according to one historian, “the whole temper of the nation felt the change.”
Long before this, God plainly stated through the Preacher Solomon, that “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:34, NIV). Unfortunately, the Word of God is no longer on every person’s mouth, because it is no longer in our hearts. Could it be that familiarity bred contempt?
Now is the time for those who have responded to Christ’s kingdom call to live into His vision for our lives.
- We need to be salting the earth, lighting the world and being the leaven that our world so desperately needs (cf. Matthew 5:13-16 and Matthew 13:33).
- We should be about the business of promoting justice, mercy and faithfulness (cf. Matthew 23:23).
- In a world that lives by the maxim, “he who has the gold makes the rules”, we need to show people what it means to live by the Golden Rule taught by Jesus: “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” (cf. Matthew 7:12)
Now is the time to issue a clarion call throughout this great land for a spiritual revival before that which we hold so dear becomes a relic of the past, noted and discussed only in the history books.
While the United States of America is clearly not the kingdom of Christ, like all other nations in the world, God wants our nation to be influenced by the kingdom principles. He wants us to make disciples of the citizens of this nation, like He wants us to make disciple of the citizens of all nations. He wants the people of this nation and all nations of the world to lovingly yield their lives to the sovereignty of Christ.
—May we not take for granted the freedoms we enjoy.
—May we not forget to exercise these freedoms for good and for God.
—May God help us live free of the tyrannies of our times so that we might serve the true and living God who transcends time.
—May God help us be genuine disciples of Christ, shining the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the things we say and do.
© Bill Williams
July 4, 2018