In a short time, children will squeal with glee as firecrackers pop throughout our neighborhoods. Hot dogs and burgers will sizzle on grills aplenty. It’s that time again… the fourth of July.
Our towns will have their fireworks shows while Lee Greenwood croons “I’m Proud To Be An American”, along with standards from Toby Keith, Armed Forces Medleys and more. On this day we recognize our Independence Day, wherein we informed the Kingdom of Great Britain and her monarch, King George, that we no longer wished to be part of their Kingdom. So we created our own nation. The United States of America.
Independence is a gift that we are taught to cherish from our earliest years. Patriotism, a desire to support our nation is nurtured in our children. If we compare our high holy days of the Church, say Easter, to the high holy days of our nation, we might well say the most important day recognized by our nation is Independence Day. And it is good and right that we should give thanks to God for the blessings our nation has been to its citizens. But as we spend time celebrating independence, perhaps we should take a few moments to recognize, and celebrate our dependence.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. – Declaration of Independence.
Independence, by its nature, is a rending asunder of two parties. Sometimes it is natural and healthy. “A man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife” – Genesis 2:24. Sometimes the rending is much more painful, as in a divorce. Our first parents sought independence from God in the Garden of Eden. That day created more pain and suffering than could possibly be imagined. But in the midst of their “war for independence” God offered dependence once more:
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15.
The Protoevangelium, or First Gospel, promised a way to heal the break between God and Man. But, in order for this to work, God’s people would have to be totally dependent upon God’s Son, and not on themselves:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10
We are totally dependent upon God, and upon His Son, Jesus. Colossians tells us that, “All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” He is the “glue” that holds everything together.
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” 1 Colossians 1:15-18
We give thanks for our Independence Day and our freedoms. But in Christ, we are only truly free when we are dependent upon Him for all our blessings and freedom from sin, death and the devil.
Just remember what we teach our children in Luther’s Small Catechism:
Join with me as we celebrate Dependence Day! And it is not just one day out of the year, like July 4th…it is every day!
Thanks be to God for Dependence Day now and always!
Rev. Michael Moreno – Mental Health Practitioner serving the Norfolk, NE area