July 2023

This coming Tuesday is July 4th, the day in 1776 that our nation was born. It was on that day that 56 men affixed the names to the Declaration of Independence. It was a day that would change the world for the next two centuries. On this day, I am reminded of one of my favorite patriotic hymns, “My Country Tis of Thee.” Of course, we are all familiar with the first stanza:
My country tis of thee; sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride;
From every mountain side, let freedom ring.
But have you ever paid attention to the final stanza? There is not only great history but great theology in its words:
Our fathers’ God, to Thee, Author of liberty, to Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy might, great God our King.
Historically, never let us forget our founding patriot fathers and the God that they appealed to in that sacred Declaration of Independence. They understood that freedom begins with God. Our prayer is that America may always be bright with freedom, but only freedom that is illuminated with holiness and righteousness. It is to our God, finally, that we look to for our preservation—not to Congress, not to the President, not to the Supreme Court—though these may be important. But above all we appeal to the one who rules not only the universe but our nation and individual lives.
Years ago, the English commentator and writer, G.K. Chesterton correctly observed: “America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed. That creed is set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence, perhaps the only piece of practical politics that is also theoretical politics and also great literature.” Politics, theory, or literature aside—it is our great God to which and for which we sing.
Pastor Mike