Just sitting here in my den, thinking about this upcoming “Fourth of July” weekend. I would like to challenge you to celebrate “The 4th” in a manner consistent with the founders of our great nation. Increasingly, it seems that to most people, the Fourth of July only means an extra day off from work, an extended weekend, and of course -barbecue! While these are certainly some benefits of celebrating this National Holiday, we want to go a bit deeper!
First, The Fourth of July [Also known as Independence Day] is a National Holiday of the United States and signifies the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4th, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. It is an annual celebration on the 4th day of July.
The day before Congress had finally approved the Declaration of Independence, John Adams wrote the following to His wife Abigal:
“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
John Adams was off by two days, but indeed it is the United States of America’s great anniversary festival. He said, “The Fourth” is meant to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, and celebrated by solemn (serious, dignified) acts of devotion to God Almighty! And yes, there is to be “pomp and parade” along with fun and games! It seems America is focusing more and more on the fun and games, and less on “solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty!”
As a Pastor and believer in the Gospel, my heart cries for the state of the Christian Church in the United States of America. This great nation is founded on Judea-Christian principles; even on our money is engraved, “In God We trust.” Attending Church to worship God SHOULD Be a primary solemn act of devotion to God Almighty as we and our families celebrate The Fourth of July weekend! However, on this annual day/weekend of celebration, many people have replaced church with cabins, and worship with worldly affairs! Remember, the Declaration of Independence is about our rights and freedoms to exist as a nation and individuals under “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”
Celebrating “The Fourth of July” should be a time when we definitely include the worship of the God whom we claim to have given us the rights and freedoms we enjoy as a nation. For in the Declaration of Independence we declare: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their CREATOR [my emphasis] with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Clearly, the rights and freedoms we enjoy come from our Creator [God!], and He should be at the center of our celebrations.
Now, I know many people, even Christians, would say to me “lighten up man, it ain’t that serious!” “Geese man, it’s just one Sunday!” And to them I would say, “that attitude is the very problem!” Many in this nation have allowed their attitude toward God, patriotism, and the importance of solemn [serious] acts of devotion to God almighty to be diluted and wane. Consequently, we now find many of our freedoms are being challenged, and in some cases, being taken away! Especially our religious freedoms, which were a primary force behind our separation from Great Britain, The Declaration of Independence, and the formation of this great nation.
In conclusion, I pray you realize that this article is not about me trying to take your fun away during “The Fourth of July” weekend, but rather to remind, and encourage you to include God, whom we know is the One who has blessed us with such rights and freedoms we purport to celebrate. Remember, we are able to celebrate, have the fun, because we as a nation first [and should always] became serious about our rights and freedoms to the degree that we have fought and died for them! And by the grace and blessing of God, we have prevailed. It is the recognition, and acknowledgement of the solemness of this National Day, that causes the fun part to be so satisfying! So make your “4th of July” weekend complete and satisfying by worshiping God this Sunday at church! Have a blessed “Fourth of July!”