Bill Hayes of the Wentworth Presbyterian Church (PCUSA, which means little to me, as I can't keep it and the PCA straight.) wrote a good post on Independence Day yesterday. He encouraged us to read the Declaration of Independence and posted part of his sermon, which took a good look at "rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's" and "rendering unto God what is God's".

I too, tied my Sunday sermon into Independence Day, but I took another twist: fireworks. I watched A Capitol Fourth because I was too tired to go to Cairo's fireworks display at the high school. I then flipped channels over to Macy's Fireworks Spectacular. The latter gave better shots of the people watching the fireworks and admiring their short-lived glory. I thought of fireworks as I read II Corinthians 3 from last week's Bible reading. We are enthralled with fireworks in spite of their short-lived glory to the point that we vocalize our thrills ("ohhhhh" and "ahhhhhhh"). However, the glory of fireworks pale in comparison to the glory of Christ and His kingdom which is permanent and eternal (Isaiah 40:8, Revelation 1:5-6). As Christians, should we not be celebrating daily the freedom we find in Christ, and the fact that He has called us to be a part of His Kingdom? Should we not be ready to vocalize our thrill with the fact that Christ died for our sins and that we have been adopted as God's children?

As we had church service on Sunday, we used patriotic songs in our service:

  • "The Star-Spangled Banner"
  • "America"
  • "Battle Hymn of the Republic"
  • "America, the Beautiful"

I was struck by passages in two of the songs, and I was moved to comment on them before I began my message. In "Battle Hymn of the Republic", verse 2, the song's words include "I can read his righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamp". I have several oil lamps, and I have used them for light on various occasions. Their light is not consistent: it can be dim and it can flare. Yet, the person took time to read God's word by the lamps. Why do not we take time to read God's word, even though we have been blessed by Edison's invention of the electric light bulb and its constant (but not permanent) light? Secondly, in "America, the Beautiful", verse 2, "America! America! God mend thine ev'ry flaw". We've made some bad choices in America. We kill infants in the name of a woman's right to choose. We tax the poor, and we call it a lottery. We teach our children that "alternative lifestyles" are OK and we should accept them, in lieu of teaching our children about God, His righteousness, and His desire for us to follow Him. We teach theories with little evidence as fact, but ban the teaching of absolute truth. We're attempting to remove all references to God from our public society, even though the Founding Fathers declared independence "with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence" and based on the idea that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights". We need to pray that prayer often, "America! America! God mend thine ev'ry flaw" because our flaws are many.

In spite of our flaws, I believe God has blessed us, and I have no desire to live in any country other than these United States of America. I pray that you enjoyed your Independence Day and that it was happy and safe; and I also pray that you remembered why we had the day off from work. May God bless America, and may He mend her every flaw.

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