Twenty years ago my son Si and I had the opportunity to go to England. Si had suggested that we ought to go see all the places where John Wesley lived and preached. I was impressed that he knew who John Wesley was and that he was interested in seeing those historic places.
When I asked him about a time to go, he already had specific dates in mind. I discovered that his dates included the Wimbledon tennis tournament and he had already arranged for us to have tickets for three days. We went. We did see some great tennis at Wimbledon and it was my first visit to the historic Wesley landmarks.
On July the 4th, we were going into a large city south of London. Si made the suggestion “it is July the 4th, let’s find a good fireworks celebration and some barbecue.” I had to remind him that we were in England and the English do not celebrate July 4th. It is not their birthday.
We celebrate America’s birthday on July 4th. It commemorates an event in American history that set this young nation on a great course. It also reminds us of the tremendous price that so many people paid for the freedom to celebrate this birthday.
Take a little time to study and talk about the Declaration of Independence. Most of the people who signed that document suffered severe penalties. Five of them were captured by the British as traitors and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army. Another had two sons captured. Nine of them fought and died from wounds. They signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured. They pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
Wow – that is more than just a holiday and a backyard barbecue. Our freedom was purchased at a great price!
We Americans today are strange people. I once read where only in America
- banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.
- you can get a pizza to your house faster than an ambulance.
- there are handicapped parking places in front of a skating rink.
- the drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions.
- we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway, and store useless junk in the garage.
- we have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.
- we use answering machines to screen calls, and then have call waiting so we won’t miss a call from someone we didn’t want to talk to in the first place.
We may be a little strange, but America is still the best place in the world to live! As you celebrate July the 4th, thank God for our blessings and remember the huge price paid for our freedom. Don’t forget!
Moses reminds the children of Israel, (and us here in America today) “You have houses full of good things which you did not fill, you have cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant; you will eat, and be satisfied, then watch yourself lest you forget the Lord. (Deuteronomy 6:11-12)
Celebrate – but don’t forget!