Happy Independence Day (or 4th of July weekend or holiday, depending on what your plans are)!
July 4 is a special holiday for all of us who are thankful for our homeland. To be sure, our nation is not perfect. What nation is? As long as human beings populate countries, countries will be imperfect. There is crime and poverty and racism and all sorts of other isms in far too abundant supply in our land. And it is up to us to be corrective agents … voices of justice … advocates for the abused or mistreated … echoes of collective conscience … road signs pointing to that which is right and true and gracious. We can never allow ourselves to say, “It is what it is.” No, as long as “what it is” remains unfair or unkind to any person or group of persons, then followers of Jesus cannot allow ourselves to be resigned to the status quo.
That being said, this is a good and appropriate time to look at the glass half full. For all our admitted imperfections, I think our nation is a pretty good place to be. “From sea to shining sea” we find good people doing good things for others. There are community efforts in almost any town we can name that are aimed at elevating the quality of life for all its citizens. There are churches and synagogues and scout troops and soup kitchens and advocacy groups and caregiving centers and numberless anecdotal evidences of human grace and kindness being a high priority. Military personnel risk their lives for our freedoms. In most places, community servants and employees at all levels exemplify what it means to have the welfare of the general population at heart. Our health care system, though obviously not yet perfect, provides quality medical treatment that protects and lengthens lives. Our educational
system, though obviously not yet perfect, prepares millions of young lives to create happy and successful futures. From the Atlantic to the Pacific to the mountains of Appalachia or the Rockies or the Great Lakes or the western deserts or the forests or gardens or large cities or small towns, our nation is replete with countless beauties and blessings. And though it is exciting to visit so many glorious places around the globe, many of us never tire of coming home to the place we want to stay.
So, celebrate this weekend. Grill the hotdogs, split open the watermelons, go to a ballgame or a concert, enjoy the fireworks, and breathe with millions of us a sincere prayer: “God bless America.” Happy 4th of July!