July 4 – Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today, with parades, fireworks and barbecues we celebrate our Independence – an Independence which was won and is maintained by the sacrifice of many lives. However, our independence is not absolute. Our nation was founded on belief in God. Our Independence is DEPENDENT on God. This dependence on God is clearly stated in our Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their creator with inalienable rights….And it ends “with a firm reliance on Divine Providence we pledge our lives, our fortunes and our honor…..” As a nation founded on belief in God, our President takes the oath of office by placing his/her hand on the Bible, the Word of God, and ends with, “So help me God..” In our pledge of allegiance we say, “One nation under God.” Engraved on our money is “In God we trust.” Our Congress has a chaplain, begins each session with a prayer and provides for chaplains for the Military.
Our Founding Fathers may have opted for a separation of Church and State but not for a separation of God and State. There is no brotherhood of man without the Fatherhood of God. The division of life into the sacred and the secular is a false dichotomy. There is not now, there never was and there never will be the purely secular, that is, anyone or anything which is not dependent on God. Atheistic capitalism would suffer the same fate as atheistic communism.
What the Constitution guarantees is not freedom FROM religion but freedom OF religion, freedom to practice religion. Thankfully, we can choose to let the values of the kingdom of God have an influence on the values of our nation. We can choose to accept the peace and healing of Christ that they bring peace and healing to our country. We can receive the body and blood of the Lord so that all the children at God’s table will be fed and receive their due in life. As we come together to celebrate the Eucharist, we become Christ’s body, to be in the world and serve it, but not to be totally of it. We are thankful for our country and our independence, but as Christians, we must remember our ultimate home, now and forever, is elsewhere. While we may be citizens of the United States, our ultimate citizenship is in heaven!
I wish to express my thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers at the time of my surgery on June 10. The surgery to remove my cancerous thyroid went well. I will in the near future need to have the radioactive iodine treatment, and then the process of getting the right dosage of thyroid replacement medication determined. Thanks as well to those who sent cards and prayer enrollments. I appreciate your concern!
Happy Independence Day!