Posted by: morgan1965 | July 6, 2009

Celebrating the Fourth of July & Beyond

It is a privilege to celebrate on the fourth of July and beyond. We celebrated this year’s Independence Day with allegiance, gratitude and justice. We are indeed “one nation, under God.” The song, “God Bless the USA,” says in part:

If tomorrow all the things were gone
I’d worked for all my life,
And I had to start again
with just my children and my wife,
I’d thank my lucky stars
to be living here today,
Cause the flag still stands for freedom
and they can’t take that away.

I’m proud to be an American
where at least I know I’m free,
And, I won’t forget the men who died
who gave that right to me.
And I’ll gladly stand up (!)
next to you
and defend her still today.
Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this
God Bless the USA!

I count it a privilege to live in America today, where we have freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Yes, I am proud to be an American.

There is a sense of pride that swells within me when I hear the patriotic songs that we sing from time to time. I paused in this Fourth of July season to ponder the question, what is an American? St. Jean de Crevecoeur wrote a collection of Letters from an American Farmer during the Revolution. The letters were written from the viewpoint of an ordinary person, a happy American farmer.

Crevecoeur defines an American as being any person who “leaves behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds…Americans are the western pilgrims who are carrying along with them that great mass of arts, sciences, vigour, and industry…The American is a new man, who acts upon new principles; he must therefore entertain new ideas and form new opinions. From involuntary idleness, servile dependence, penury, and useless labour, he has passed to toils of a very different nature, rewarded by ample subsistence” [Crevecoeur, St. John de. Letters from an American Farmer]. Such an American is one who breathes in the available freedom, loves the developing nation, and is open to pending changes for the sake of personal growth and national development. This person is proud to be an American.

During the holiday weekend, I noticed a church bulletin board that had a sign on it: “American ends with four letters that spell ‘I can’.” It was President Obama who said, “Yes, we can change.” He further said, “And where we are met with cynicism and doubt and fear and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of the American people in three simple words – yes, we can.”

It is not so much a matter of rugged individualism, but the necessity of working together to transform our communities, our nation and our world.

In America, in our communities and in our churches, we can change and achieve that which God wills for us. The gospel hymn by Larry Trotter says: “If God said I can, I can. No matter what comes my way, I can do it anyway; if God said I can, I can.”

What more need I say, when God says, “I can”?

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