So now, come back to your God! Act on the principles of love and justice, and always live in confident dependence on your God.
~Hosea 12:6, NLT
The ‘Fourth of July’ selection for Crosswalk the Devotional.
It fell to me this year.
And whoa if I didn’t have a firecracker of a time coming up with what to write.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not riding on the trendy bandwagon of American self-loathing. I love my country. I dig personal and religious freedom. Without a free press I’d be out of a job, and without free speech I’d be locked up somewhere. But not here!
So why the long face on red-white-and-blue, take-a-day-off, fire-up-the-grill day?
…Because Christianity has so little yet too much to do with the American Dream. To wit: “After centuries of shacking up with ‘the American dream,’ churches have perfected a dicey codependence between consumer-driven therapeutic individualism and religious pragmatism. These theological proxies gnaw, termite-like, at our identity as the Body of Christ, eroding our ability to recognize that Jesus’ life of self-giving love directly challenges the American gospel of self-fulfillment and self-actualization” (Kenda Creasy Dean, Almost Christian).
…Because I get sad when I consider the evolution ‘Freedom’ has undertaken just in my lifetime – from “allowed to act responsibly” to “if it feels good do it” to “absolutely anything goes and don’t even try to suggest otherwise, or we might just take away your freedom.”
…Because “Independence Day” is a disconnect for me, devotionally speaking, from things I know to be true: namely, that independence has never served me well where family or friends or work colleagues or the Church or the Lord are concerned.
And so, left without the trite and tried-but-true for today’s devotional, I settled on the short, bittersweet, and eternal…
- Neither politics nor religion nor any mixing of the two will save me. Likewise, patriotism and faith-in-Christ need not be shoehorned to celebrate either one.
- Some things are really messed up. Most things are really not mess-up-able. A few things that are require only repentance to restore.
- It’s never wrong or out-of-style to be thankful, to express gratitude. To Him who freed your soul, or to those who gave you a free country.
- You can pledge your allegiance to the flag every day and admit your own and your country’s independence, but “when you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor” (James 4:10, NLT).
Have a safe and blessed holiday, everyone.