I think it's good to celebrate our history and our freedoms. The USA has had noble moments and will continue to have them. I can't think of anywhere I'd rather live and consider being born in this county as a huge blessing that carries with it some rather major responsibilities. I love the blessing and pray to be brave enough to live into the responsibility.
I'm not a 'my country right or wrong kind of guy'. I've seen my government lie and scheme and watched good people take to the streets in order to right wrongs. The civil rights movement and the protests of the Vietnam War come instantly to mind. Those brave enough to confront 'wrong' often paid heavy consequences. In their own ways they are American heroes just like those who fought bravely against tyranny during World War I and II.
I'm reminded on this 4th of July that my citizenship in the kingdom of God is what informs my citizenship in my country. As a free man I am thankful for the choices that I have. Those choices have to be rooted in some sort of authoritative source. I find that source in the traditions and scripture of my faith. My allegiance to the laws of this country and it purposes are strong but only as long as they don't step on my primary commitment to Christ and His purposes. The ways of Christ are often quite different from the tactics of our economic and political strategists.
The good news is that we live in a country where we all still have the ability to influence policy both locally and nationally. Too many stand on the sidelines thinking their gossipy criticisms actually make a difference. It doesn't and won't. Talk is cheap in both the kingdom of God and in the challenging issues facing our country. I wonder who will step up to the plate and be the 'difference maker' this time around. Perhaps it's me. Or you?
Tonight we will ooh and ah and rank the fireworks this year against the fireworks of our youth. Many of you have already saluted the flag and cheered for war veterans and other modern day heroes. 'Tis a good day. May we live into the hopes of our founders and remain faithful to the calls of God on our lives.