In 1776 a group of New World colonies decided that they had had enough. Since their founding the American states had been subject to the British Empire but they had decided that they were through. Through taking orders. Through being taken advantage of. Through being treated as if they were less than human. They wanted something new and bold. They wanted freedom not tyranny. So they rebelled against the most powerful nation on earth at the time and, against all odds, they prevailed. The conflict was long and bloody, lasting eight years and costing over 4,000 American lives while wounding over 6,000 more. Until the American Civil War it was the bloodiest war in American history but the British surrender at Yorktown in 1781 seemed to make it all worth it. Bunker Hill, Saratoga, Valley Forge and the many other hardships that the soldiers of this new nation encountered along the way and the lives that were lost had not been in vain. The vision of our forefathers had become a reality and though they faced uncertain future they pressed on because they were convinced they were on divine mission.
I’m also convinced that they were on a divine mission because nearly two and a half centuries later that vision is alive and well. Their grand experiment has been a success and you and I are reaping the benefits of their sacrifice. As a people we enjoy unprecedented freedom and as a church we are free to gather and worship, study Scripture and share our faith with others without the fear of retribution, a luxury that many of our brothers and sisters around the world don’t get to enjoy. The Creator who gave us our inalienable rights has preserved this nation and given us a role in the modern world that the founders could have only dreamed of. Yet with the events of recent history I feel like some, especially in the church, have begun to question that and those who haven’t have sold themselves for a proverbial seat at the table of political influence. The thing that has kept me going, and the thing that I think many of us need to be reminded of, is the realization that this isn’t home. Philippians 3:20 tells us that we are “citizens of heaven, exiles on earth waiting eagerly for a Liberator, our Lord Jesus the Anointed, to come”. While we “pursue the peace and welfare of the city” (Jeremiah 29:7, The Voice) by being good citizens of our nation we also understand that, much like with the Israelites during their captivity, there is going to come a time of judgement for us as a nation, as the church and as the human race.
I love the United States. I love saying the Pledge of Allegiance as well singing our national anthem and other patriotic songs and do so at every opportunity. I’m grateful for and to our military not just because my grandparents fought in World War 2 but because I understand the sacrifice that it takes to do that. While we have had some dark times in our history America and everything about it are great, have always been great and will continue to be great but it won’t last forever. At the end of the age I want to be counted as someone who stood for what Jesus stood for and spoke for the things that he spoke for. I want to be his good and faithful servant, not the White House’s.