Today, we as Americans celebrate a wonderful and glorious day. It will mark the 245th year since the signing of the Declaration of Independence from the tyranny of Great Britain. It will be observed much like our second Vice President John Adams anticipated it would be in a letter to his wife, Abigail on July 3, 1776. In it he said, “it will be celebrated… with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”
But aside from all the fun and flair, there is a somberness and solemnity to this day. In this day of new challenges and hostile philosophies, it is time to rejoice in our freedom, be reminded of the faith that is interwoven into the fabric of this society, and then reflect on what is needed if we are to continue as a free and faith-based nation.
Freedom: When the 56 signers added their name to the Declaration of Independence that Thomas Jefferson and a few others had drafted, none of them knew what would befall them. They had pledged their lives and fortunes for the opportunity to have a free and prosperous nation. Seven years of a grueling war would ensue and then a few years would follow in which the principles of this government would be hammered out; but, when the U.S. Constitution was completed and ratified in 1787, and the first president was sworn into office, the world was put on notice that a new type of nation was brought to the forefront. A free nation was born where people have liberty to worship as they please and have the ability to create, imagine, invent and work in their own ways. This is why people, to this day, still come by the droves to America. No nation is like this nation.
Faith: But add to it that this nation was founded on Christian principles. This is not to say that every founder was a believer in Jesus Christ or that everything about the founding of this country was purely Biblical, but it must be acknowledged that there was something special in the establishment of this country. Those who sailed on the Mayflower signed a document “in the name of God”. Pilgrims fled the old world for a new one where freedom to worship was their main priority. Preachers came in great number and many of them, from their pulpits, were used to spark the conscience of this nation. The First Great Awakening was instrumental in preparing the founders for the many decisions they would face. The first college established in America, Harvard University, was based on strong Christian principles. In fact, the first handbook stated that “every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life”. While many try to rewrite the history books and cloud over the Christian ties to this country, one cannot ignore the rich Biblical and spiritual heritage which are bound with the founding of America.
Forgiveness: To think of our faith and freedom in America would fill volumes of books. This country has a rich legacy. But we live in a day with many challenges… challenges to both our freedom and faith. What challenges are there that might harm this country? What can strip this nation of its greatness and power. While the answers might naturally flow from our lips of the gross problems and immorality of our general society, I believe that Christians from shore to shore need to consider our own needs. You see, if God will heal this land, it must begin with us. It must begin with our sins being acknowledged and seeking God for forgiveness for our own wicked deeds. 2 Chronicles 7:14 reminds us that “if my people…”. For this nation to prosper spiritually, economically, morally and militarily, it must begin with God’s people seeking to be right and pure before him. Me… you… our families… and our churches!
Prayer: Oh great God of heaven, the One who brought this nation to being and power, guide us right now by your grace. Sadly, many who name the name of Christ have not followed your Word and we have left you and your purpose. We have become rebellious to the principles of the Word of God for our everyday living. We have failed to acknowledge the poor. We have shown hatred to those of different skin color. We have been intolerant and not shown help to those who have been confused concerning their identity. We have been selfish and immoral creatures who have played church on Sunday and left the rest of the week to our own desires. Lying, immorality, broken relationships, cheating and a host of other secret sins have been a part of the Christian circle, let alone the world who does not know God through Jesus Christ. Lord, please forgive us… and please heal our land!