While our country is celebrating that fateful day of July 4th, 1776, American Christians live in a state of incongruity.
As American citizens, we enjoy freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution and Bill of Rights. We live without foreign powers ruling over us, as we have self-governance. We have freedom of religion, the independence to worship as we please, or not at all. July 4th is all about how great independence is and how great a nation we are having achieved it. It is a celebration of our core value: being independent, self sufficient, unreliant upon anyone.
As Christians, we are interdependent upon each other. We live in community with those who share our faith. We worship our God together, and manifest the Risen Christ when we gather in his name. We enjoy the gifts of the Holy Spirit within others that come together as the Body of Christ. We read and learn scripture together. We prayer and praise God together. We cannot exist by ourselves for we are called to break bread together in fellowship and at Holy Communion.
As Christians, we are ultimately dependent upon God. We depend upon the Father to give us the rules by which we live our lives. We depend upon the Son for the forgiveness we receive from the cross and the resurrection we will receive at his return. We depend upon the Holy Spirit to guide us, move within us, and reveal a new life as disciples. We cannot make our salvation possible, we depend upon God for that. We cannot save ourselves with works, we depend upon God’s Grace to even give us the ability to have faith. Christ says that he is the vine and we are the branches; apart from him we can do nothing (John 15:5).
So as I celebrate the Declaration of Independence, the war for our independence and our existence as the United States of America rather than the British colonies of the New World, I do so recalling that not everything in this life is about being independent, being at liberty to do whatever I please. I have a monarch to whom I am yoked and whose will I follow. His name is Jesus Christ and I will serve him gladly all of my days, a faithful subject.
John Trumbull’s “The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.”
(Image courtesy of ghostofaflea.com)