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Posted: June 28, 2018 9:20 a.m.
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Reflect on Independence Day

Chaplain Corner

Ah, the Fourth of July—America’s favorite summer holiday.  There are so many traditions that we look forward to and religiously uphold. Barbeque and picnic foods abound. Red, white, and blue bunting is everywhere. Those symbolic colors adorn everything from our t-shirts to our napkins.  They even light up our skies at night. We gather to play horseshoes and cornhole and light sparklers at dusk. Whatever your traditions are, I hope you took the time to not only enjoy them, but to reflect upon what this holiday means.

242 years ago, our founding fathers put their names on a document that marked them as traitors.  Fifty-six men courageously put their lives on the line for their beliefs “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness…” There was no turning back from this decision. These beliefs were, and still are, the common threads that connect all Americans today.  Americans have shed their life blood to defend the freedom to believe in God and practice one’s faith, to defend one’s family, to follow one’s self-defined pursuit of happiness. It is what makes us Americans, why we celebrate our independence.

Our nation is still facing many challenges. Evil threatens us on a daily basis.  Terrorists rage against us and would like nothing better than to see America fall. In these uncertain times, I recall some sound words prescribed by a man named Peter: “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.  Honor everyone.  Love the brotherhood. Fear God.  Honor the emperor” (1 Peter 2:16-17). 

Peter lived under the supreme rule of a Roman emperor.  He certainly did not have the rights and freedoms that we as Americans enjoy today. And yet, he offers this as a prescription for living.  I think that it is pretty sound advice.  Live as free people without using your “freedom” to hurt another person. Honor all people—regardless of class, race, or creed. Love one another; show kindness to all. Fear God, whatever your concept may be of Him. Honor political leaders, which is best accomplished by praying for them. This Fourth of July, let us remember that we are more than what divides us.  


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