Tuesday, July 1, 2008
This week we celebrate the birth of our country, again. I will confess to being more impressed with a day off than the celebration of our nation's birthday in the past. Not this year. I have done some reading about events of 1776 and I am approaching July 4th differently this year. I have read David McCullough's 1776 and his later volume on John Adams and my wife and I have just finished viewing the HBO series on John Adams on DVD. I recommend both the reading and the viewing. I came away with the overwhelming sense THIS SHOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED! This country, I mean. In the midst of an impending war with the strongest military power at the time, a small group of ordinary people risked their all to declare our independence and usher in a whole new government - the likes of which had never been seen before! It is an amazing story. One surely worth more than the few paragraphs most high school history texts give it. More than one of our founding fathers saw God's hand in it. For if He was not involved how could this thing have happened? George Washington called it a "miracle". The later historian Joseph Ellis (American Creation, 2007) does not want to believe this and comes up with a rational explanation. But his historical analysis does not detract from the fact that people who were there, who were living it, called it nothing short of miraculous and gave the credit to God (Washington, and Adams, at least). If you don't have time to read these books or watch the DVD this week, you might at least read the Declaration out loud and the list of signers who put their names on the line knowing that if they were caught they would be hanged as traitors. If you have a family, what a great exercise in citizenship to read it aloud as a family. Then pray for our country, thankfully, for what God did then and with petitions for what God needs to do now. As Adams prayed, let freedom which was gained by the sacrifices of so many, ring true today.