Why not celebrate the Fourth of July as a day of inter-DEPENDENCE? After all, as people of rebirth (Christians), independence seems to be a very counter-gospel value. But interDEPENDENCE — interdependent on one another & flat out DEPENDENCE on God…this idea that we are not alone in the world — that is at the heart of the Story from which we come, the story that began long before America.
I once read that the real Independence Day was not 1776, but soon after Adam was created, when he and Eve stood before God guilty of sinning. It was on that day, the fall, that Adam and Eve made their own Declaration of Independence, and rejected God for Satan’s lie. From that time onward, every son and daughter of Adam is born at odds with God, fighting to live independent of Him and independent of each other. It is only when the eyes of the rebel are opened and he sees his sin, is moved to repent of it, and makes his official Declaration of Dependence upon the Lord, that he will be saved. And it is this very dependence that leads this rebel to cease his striving and live unselfishly in community fulfilling the 2nd greatest commandment to love others.
So this time around and for the future why not consider the true freedom we have in Christ - I’m not talking about, “Lord, thank you that we live in a country where we are free to worship you,” or things like that. Those things are true, but they’ve become cliché. Christians must promote freedom in Christ. Before Christ, we were nothing more than captives! Prone to wonder from our heavenly father, prone to do the very things we hated…Christ most certainly came to bring freedom to the captives. So on Independence Day let’s be sure to remember the freedom Christ gave us.
But let us not take our country for granted…a country where we can join together and worship our Savoir. So let every Independence Day remind us to give thanks and pray for those who serve our country, our soldiers who protect our lives and freedoms every day as well as our leaders. Pray for Obama, pray for your Governor, your representatives, and so on. They need prayer.
One of my favorite Independence Day traditions is going to see fireworks. I think it’s because of the awe inspiring beauty, the beauty of bright lights breaking through the darkness acting as a small parallel of Christ’s light that has come into this dark world. So if you get to enjoy some fireworks let your appreciation of them remind you of the One who shines brighter than the sun, the One who shines hope in the midst of what, at times, feels like overwhelming darkness.
Finally, holidays remind us how inter-dependent we are on one another. As someone makes you a burger, or invites you to swim, or watch fireworks with them, remember what we learned from High School musical, “we are all in this together.” :-)
Our family is celebrating this holiday starting today, (13 days before the 4th, representing the 13 stripes on the flag). We will be taping up one “stripe” of paper each day on our wiki stix flag that I made on the wall. On these stripes of paper will be a Bible verse that talks about either our dependence on Him, our freedom in Christ, or our need to live in community. All biblical themes that we can tie in with the holiday using the verbage above.
Here are the 13 Bible verses ( in the ESV) we printed out on red and white stripes of paper:
|Day 1 of 13|
Dependence on God:
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
5 Thus says the Lord:
Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
6 He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
6 For not in my bow do I trust,
nor can my sword save me.
7 But you have saved us from our foes
and have put to shame those who hate us.
8 In God we have boasted continually,
and we will give thanks to your name forever.
3 You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Freedom in Christ:
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
Our dependence on living in community:
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
And all who believed were together and had all things in common.
1 Corinthians 12:12
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
*James wrote parts of this post.