I hope your Independence Day is a great one!
I have found myself in an interesting position. I read some on Twitter and FaceBook and other places wishing others a Happy July 4th and continuing the oft repeated desire that God Bless America. I join with them in that expression. On the other hand there is a large number of those who have come to a notion that by loving one’s country and expressing a desire for God’s blessing, we are somehow dishonoring God. See the blog post and discussion HERE for an example.
Yes, there is always danger of idolizing our country, our flag, and even ourselves as Americans. Nothing should ever take preeminence in our hearts except love for and faith in Christ. In that sense we are part of a universal community of believers that have trust in a Sovereign One above all communities and nations. His kingdom existed long before the United States of America came along. There is a rich heritage of faith history that has nothing to do with Americanized Christianity. I get that.
Yet I have many great opportunities in this land of the free. My family has an American heritage. I am not ashamed to be an American. I do still get teary eyed when hearing the Star Spangled Banner. I do not think it dishonors God when we ask him to bless America … whether by repeating that phrase or on a bumper sticker or singing it when we gather together on a Sunday.
I do not like everything about my country. And my expression today should not leave the idea that there are no problems. Our country needs God now as much as it ever has. From our amoral white house to a congress and house that exist to be re-elected, to governors who cannot maintain fidelity to their wives, we do have problems. Still, I’m glad I’m an American. I’m amazed at the bravery of our armed forces. I may be naive, but I do think that what we are doing in other lands can help them to have a better way of life. I see the spirit of concern and care for those who cannot help themselves growing in our churches.
Loving God and His Kingdom is primary in our lives. But for those of us who live in America, we have something special for which to give thanks. Perhaps I’ll think differently in the future. But for now, I’ll not be joining the cynical crowd who abhors the mention of our great country. I’m not afraid to thank God for the gift of living in this time and in this place. I won’t shrink back from asking Him to give us even greater opportunities to share the gospel in freedom.
When we gather tomorrow at our church, I won’t be embarrassed if someone requests God’s help with our young nation.
Thanks for reading!