How shall we celebrate this day? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Today, we who are Americans celebrate the day we declared ourselves a free people. It’s important to realize it was a declaration. The freedom was not guaranteed. There was no certainty that the mission would be successful. It was a great risk, but many of us today living in freedom in America are thankful for that risk.
I’m also making it a point to not say the 4th of July. Today is a day to really say something specific. We don’t say on Christmas, “Merry 25th of December!” or on Valentine’s Day “Happy 14th of February love of my life!” We refer to them as Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Why not refer to today as Independence Day?
Today, many of us will be celebrating with friends and loved ones. There’s nothing wrong with that. Here in Atlanta, we’ll be meeting with my wife’s family. (I also can’t help but think right now about a friend who said yesterday on Facebook that it’s so hot that he’s sweating like Steven Furtick listening to a Paul Washer sermon. I wish I had come up with that, but I didn’t.)
Yet as we gather together, let’s remember something. We can gather together. We can celebrate. We have that freedom. Many of us have taken too much for granted in our country. This is especially so when it comes to religious freedom. We can say we see some encroachments on that, and we could say so rightly, but many of us can still go to the church of our choice without fearing that the government is going to burst in on us and shut us down and/or kill us all.
The tragedy of all of this is we don’t really use our freedom well. Think back to how many people in the past wrote so much. You and I can read the New Testament easily enough. Have you ever considered what it would be like to write the New Testament? I don’t mean sit down and type it out. I mean write by hand a book of the New Testament. Luke is said to have contributed more than anyone. Have you ever thought about what it would be like to write Luke and Acts using ancient materials?
We have so much freedom to do so much good and we tend to not do it. Imagine what Paul would do with what we have today. How would Paul use the internet, podcasts, television, etc.? Dare I say it but I think much of what we do with what we have is paltry compared to what those who went before us did with what they had. They also often did so in the midst of real persecution.
That doesn’t mean we don’t give thanks for our freedom or despise it. It means we use it wisely. God has granted us a nation where we can worship freely. We can serve freely. It is a tragedy to get a great gift and to squander it. Let’s make sure we’re not doing it.
Happy Independence Day everyone!