On July 4th 2022, the United States of America will be 246 years old. In relationship with many other countries like Egypt, China, or Greece, America the republic, this experiment in liberty, is very young and yet we stand tall among the nations of the world. We continue to stand because of the principles on which we were established, the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”I believe that because our country was birthed by men and women who came from a heritage of faith in “their Creator”, that America’s origins should be celebrated in our nation’s churches.
I am puzzled as to why so many ministers and churches today shy away from any kind of patriotic proclamations from the pulpit. I understand that our faith is in a God who transcends any one nation, (Red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in His sight…) but our country’s formation came from a pilgrim people who faithfully ventured to this continent in search of religious freedom.
In 1620 William Bradford who authored, the Mayflower Compact just before these pilgrims were about to disembark and come upon shore wrote,“Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine our selves together…”
Our nations roots, branching out from the Plymouth colony of Massachusetts (they overshot Virginia by some 500 miles) dedicated themselves from the beginning to “the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.” Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were God given rights to all peoples which our founder’s reiterated in our country’s constitution. With these rights come individual expectations and responsibilities.
“We have staked the whole future of American civilization not on the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God. –James Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution.
The foundation of Judeo-Christian values instilled in it’s citizenry is a necessity for a fully functioning America to thrive, let alone survive.
“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people…it is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams
Taught and practiced religion and the morality that springs from it are what made America the great land of the free and the home of the brave.
French writer Alexis de Tocqueville, after visiting America in 1831, said, “I sought for the greatness of the United States in her commodious harbors, her ample rivers, her fertile fields, and boundless forests–and it was not there. I sought for it in her rich mines, her vast world commerce, her public school system, and in her institutions of higher learning–and it was not there. I looked for it in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution–and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did, I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great!”
Now much can be said about the steady decline in the greatness of America and I believe there is a correlation with our country’s decline in goodness, a fruit of God’s Holy Spirit residing in followers of Jesus, and the greatness in the people that it springs forth from. Where does the responsibility of this decline rest? In government, only in part, but also in a steady falling away of the teaching, preaching and living out the moral principles exhibited in the Biblical accounts of our Lord Jesus and the life changing examples of his disciples. And whose duty is that to fulfill?
My prayer is that from the pulpits of America, your pulpit, the righteousness of God and the salvation that comes from his son Jesus Christ be preached without compromise or political bias. Whether your leanings are left or right, hawk or dove, red or blue, I encourage you to cross the divide and remember how far we’ve fallen, pray for forgiveness, seek restoration and proclaim the blessings of God’s grace shed on all of us in these United States of America from sea to shining sea.