I know that today we’re supposed to think about the history of winning our independence. I do. I think that is OK. We think about freedom and the Constitution too. We are glad we don’t live somewhere there isn’t freedom. We are grateful to be Americans. We are proud of ourselves. That is cool. But July 4TH is also a birthday. And birthdays are times to appreciate people and show them you love them.
More than an ideal or a system of government, our country is people isn’t it? Politicians talk about “America” and the “American People.” I wonder if they think- if any of us do- that “American People” also includes the homeless guy on the corner and the rich guy everyone is mad at and the frumpy lady nobody talks to and the family that insists on bringing the entire household to the grocery store and getting in everyone else’s way, or the guy on the news whose opinions are offensive to us or people who write cruel comments on the Internet- even the politician we think should probably do something more productive than cause trouble in our names?
On July 4TH I think it’s worth considering, as people of the Gospel, that “America” is more than the flag or patriotic feelings about soldiers and wars won, or icons of our culture, though I know all of that is important. It can be about loving what we really are as a people. We are lots of people. To love. To accept. And to serve.
“Love one another as I have loved you. ” ~ Jesus (John 13:34)
Maybe July 4TH, with all that it is and all that it means, can also be a time to reflect on what love of country means to us as true Christians. This July 4TH, we could decide to expand our hearts and our minds to be more inclusive and intentional in love; to challenge ourselves to love, accept and serve the America we see every day- even the America in our house making a mess in the kitchen right now. 😉
July 4TH is about love- a certain kind of love: Love for our country.
Our country is all around us- in every face we see.