Sunday, July 2, 2017

National Holidays and Worship

Will your church be celebrating Independence Day today, this Sunday before the national holiday in the U.S.?  Will you sing patriotic songs?  Will you think about how the national story intersects with God's story?

I understand the appeal of this holiday and why we'd want to bring it into our worship services, but still, part of me shudders.  Too many churches throughout our nation's short history have tumbled into the idea that God has chosen this nation for special things, and it's then a short trip to thinking that our nation can do no wrong.  And we know that's not true--right?

I would prefer that we celebrate the creation of the Constitution.  Everyone can foment revolution, although happily, not everyone does.  But it takes a special group of people to create a document that leads to good government, a document so flexible that it's still useful over two hundred years after its creation.

If we must mix national holidays into our religious practice, celebrating the Constitution would make more sense than celebrating the beginning of a war.  The Constitution, after all, is what guarantees us the right to practice our religion.  The Constitution, much more so than the Declaration of Independence, is what gives us our freedom.

I do love the way the Declaration of Independence ends:  "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

As we approach this national holiday, it's worth considering the types of causes to which we would mutually pledge our lives, our money, and our sacred honor.  The people who signed this declaration knew the stakes couldn't be any higher.

What holds the same importance to us, here in the early part of the twenty-first century?


Jake Owensby said...

Thanks for another thoughtful piece. I've posted it on my public figure FB page. It will be interesting to see the responses.

Kristin said...

Thanks for commenting and reposting! I know that people have strong feelings.