I’m going to preface this entry by saying that I’m a closet rampant Christian. Or, not closet exactly… I just believe that there’s many ways to reach God and that Christianity is a good one, but I know it doesn’t work for everyone as amazingly well as it works for me. So, I tend to keep quieter than some. I mean, it’s not like you’re NOT gonna hear the message of Jesus in America today…
I’m putting in this preface because I’m going to get a little religious on you at the end.
I’ve been feeling like a big fuddy-duddy this year about the 4th of July, and if I’m feeling it you better believe it’s bad. I’m usually all about breaking out the tricorn hat and ’76 flag while humming Stars and Stripes Forever and carrying a sparkler. But America IS NOT living up to what it should be in ways so profound that I’m not even sure we qualify as a democracy at this point. A fascist oligarchy? Maybe. Democracy? I don’t know. I’m hoping we can get back to a semblance of democracy soon.
I’ve always been a proponent of the fact that the 4th of July is a day to revel in the promise of America, the US that never actually can be because it’s an ideal. It’s a day to party it up, think of freedom and founding fathers, listen to a little fife music, and gain stamina for the fight to make the actual US match the fantasy US. If we bathe in the America that could be for a day, we can better work towards that actuality in the coming year. A little bit closer, the years bending toward justice.
I just didn’t want to do that this year. I see the country standing for so much hatred to the point where we’re not even acknowledging the humanity of children. Where do we even go from here? Is there a bottom lower than this one? I don’t want there to be. I didn’t want to ponder or celebrate America at all right now.
Still, in church this morning we had a little America celebration. We sang My Country ‘Tis Of Thee and America The Beautiful among other things. The sermon was on making apologies for deep wrongs. I sat in that sanctuary, sang all the verses, and found that maybe I did feel okay about celebrating the 4th after all. Because the Founding Fathers knew that this was a fraught experiment with potential for abuse, but they also knew their scrappy citizens who cling to liberty with both hands.
I want to point you to two verses in each of the songs from this morning:
O beautiful for heroes proved, in liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee.
Till selfish gain no longer stain, the banner of the free!
Our fathers’ God to Thee, Author of liberty, To Thee we sing. Long may our land be bright, With freedom’s holy light, Protect us by Thy might, Great God our King.
I think that this 4th is going to be more of a religious holiday for me this year. I’ll be praying for everyone to be crowned with brotherhood, for selfish gain to no longer stain the banner of the free, for God to protect us with freedom’s holy light. I’m hoping that the fireworks will shine like a benediction on these prayers on Wednesday night as they light up the firmament.
And then on the 5th, I’m going to fight like hell again to secure the blessings of liberty for myself and my posterity.