This is Pastor Tim’s article that appeared in the Evening Leader this week.
Last Sunday at Wayne Street, I proudly wore a Captain America shirt to our Awaken service because I wanted to recognize the birthday of our country. On July 4, 2020, we turned 244 years old. To be honest, today I wonder if this is the last time we will celebrate Independence Day. I know that not everyone in our country was free on July 4, 1776, but the stage was set for freedom for everyone that was exemplified by the Civil War that started 85 years later and the beginning of legal Civil Rights which started to happen about 100 years after that.
To all sane people in 2020, slavery in any form is intolerable. It is something that should not exist in our modern world and we all hate that it does. We are doing our best to stop human trafficking efforts because we consider it purely evil. Why am I able to say that sane people in our modern age are against slavery? Because of July 4, 1776. I have legal documentation that these things are morally and legally wrong. With out the commitment of our founders and the brave women and men from then until now going out and defending our rights, we would still live in a time when brutal slavery was an accepted practice. The world has change and that change had to start somewhere.
The United States is the first country in history to exist on the notion of equality. That isn’t to say that we are the first individuals to advocate for equality, a quick read through the New Testament will show you that the ideas of equality and freedom are not new. But we are the first society as a whole to advocate and expect such things. Are we perfect at it? Of course not, we still have room to grow and work to do. But the good people in our country, which is the vast majority of us, are firmly committed to looking at people in terms of their character rather than this skin color, as Dr Martin Luther King dreamed.
The fight for equality is still going on and we need to be vigilant in helping to remove obstacles to oppressed people who want and need to be heard, but that will be difficult to do without a past. We can not allow our past to be erased for any reason, and by our past, I mean warts and all. There are some dark pieces of our past that are painful, but they are markers for how much we have grown in the years our country has existed.
Our freedom is so meaningful because it has cost so much to preserve it. That is why we celebrate Independence Day, it is a chance for us to be thankful for the great gift we have been given by living in such a great country. That also means that the burden of preserving our country now falls to us. I work with kids at Wayne Street and we are blessed with some great young people in our community who deserve to learn the love of country and understand how blessed they are to live here. It is up to us to not only instill that in them but to also help them to know that we are passing on to them the good and the bad of our country so they can continue to grow toward the ideals of our founding. We have made progress during our lifetime and we have an obligation to continue the pursuit of freedom so we can pass that gift on to our children in the form of the healthiest nation we possible can.
I hope that this weekend, you ate something off a grill, saw a firework or two, and took a moment to ponder our flag. It is in doing these things that we recognize the blessing and responsibility that has been handed to us. If we all strive to make the most of ourselves, then we will be actively building communities where families can thrive, values are taught, and freedoms are celebrated. What more could we ask for?
God bless the USA!