Gratitude Day 2945
Thurs., July 4, 2019
1 Peter 2:16 – You are free, but still you are God’s servants, and you must not use your freedom as an excuse for doing wrong.
As this flag moves by the breeze floating through our front porch, I often think of these words:
You’re a grand old flag
You’re a high-flying flag
And forever in peace may you wave
You’re the emblem of
The land I love
The home of the free and the brave
Ev’ry heart beats true
Under red, white and blue
Where there’s never a boast or brag
Today, we celebrate freedom. Choice. The opportunity to live in a place where we can have differences of opinion. Where more than one voice is encouraged and allowed.
Today, is the day we celebrate all things freedom. How will you celebrate?
Hubby Rick and I will be attending the Witwen 4th of July Parade, like we have for nearly all of the last 19 years. We’ll watch the living flag, a group of women wearing robes that form a flag, lead the parade. After we’ve watched floats and antique cars and old tractors roll down warm asphalt, we’ll indulge in chicken BBQ that was grilled by a group of people who started the coals at dawn and continued to roast several thousand halves of chicken throughout the morning.
We’ll see people we haven’t seen for months and sit at old wooden plank tables that have been used for 4th of July celebrations for over 100 years. In the afternoon, kids of all ages will participate in old-fashioned games like the water balloon toss and a three-legged race. Every half-hour, a different person will sit in the dunk tank. Those ready to try-out their baseball skills will buy 3 balls for $1 and try to hit the paddle which releases a sit inside the tank which then quickly lowers the person into a tub of water.
For over 100 years, thousands of people have gathered in Witwen and participated in many of these same events. It’s a little step back into history and a recollection of how 4th of July’s have been celebrated for many, many decades. People deck themselves out in everything red, white and blue. Flag wagging abounds. Every stands and men remove their hats when the flags walk by. And for several hours on one day each year, we celebrate everything freedom.
Freedom to speak. Freedom to write. Freedom to worship. Yes, this means that views other than our own are accepted and allowed. I pray we see this as an opportunity for wider views and more growth, recognizing that God does and will speak through lots and lots of people.
As much as I love and appreciate this freedom, I am also keenly aware of another freedom I celebrate freedom in Christ. This freedom means I accept other’s views who may be different from mine as valid and possible. Freedom in Christ challenges me to try and see the world from the eternal and heavenly vantage point that God has, which is so much different from my narrow and judgmental view. Freedom means I listen and learn from others and graciously share how I might view the word just a hare bit different, without degrading their view.
Whether your day will include a parade, a picnic and/or firework, let’s be just a bit more accepting today. Christ accepts us just the way we are; warts and all. Can we do the same of others?
For so much freedom in Christ, I am grateful.
Holy God – the freedom you extend us is so much greater than we can ever imagine. May we treasure this freedom today and all days. Amen.
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