What a wonderful Fourth of July Celebration!
We were about as patriotic as you could get at church yesterday morning. If you didn't understand "Love of God and Country" after that service, you just wouldn't get it - ever! We opened with a presentation of the colors by our Polk County Sheriff's Department. The team was crisp, precise, excellent in every way. The congregation sang, "The Star-Spangled Banner" with gusto that reverberated from back to front and back again.
We had special music and our guest speaker was Jack Ernest, a highly decorated veteran of the Vietnam War. His message was incredibly powerful. And he drew a perfect parallel between military personnel who are trained to offer their lives as the ultimate price for freedom and Christ who also gave His life so that we could live in freedom - freedom from sin.
As I watched a few moments of the National Celebration on television Saturday night, I was struck with an interesting thought. It seems that our holidays here in the U.S.A. have become only that - holidays. We seem to have forgotten that they are days intended to mark significant events: the birthday of our nation, Resurrection Day, the birth of Christ, etc. Instead, our holidays now are marked by sales events, gift-giving, parties, and lots of unrealistic expectations.
Of course, we have no one to blame but ourselves for this anomaly. How is the next generation to know these things if we don't make the telling part of our celebrating? That's why we kept our children in service yesterday. Jack spoke wearing full dress uniform; his Marine presence kept everyone sitting still! Smile.
And Frank always uses the month of July to preach a series of messages on God and Country. Our prayers are the real hope for our nation and contrary to what some may think, prayer really does matter! So, we will pray for our president, our congress, our supreme court justices and any other government official the Lord happens to bring to mind. To quote my mom, "They need the prayer and I need the practice!" Smile.
Well, that's my soap box moment for today. Happy Birthday, America! Hope your week is wonderful!!