LOOKING UP: Celebrate!
Sunday, 08 July 2012 by Joe Baisden
The dictionary defines "celebrate" with these words: "to observe (a day) or commemorate (an event) with ceremonies or festivities." Ceremonies and festivities fill next week's agenda in Belton, Texas. Belton is known far and wide as THE PLACE to be on the Fourth of July.
Like Christmas, with its true meaning often blurred by the parasitical accretions that have become attached to it, Independence Day's meaningful significance can be lost in the peripheral activities surrounding it.
Don't get me wrong, I am all for family fun, the rodeo, the parade, the fireworks, etc.
I am grateful for the annual God and Country Concert, the program at the courthouse before the parade, and the many churches that provide special moments for reflection. My concern is that in the midst of this, we as individual Americans consider what it means to live in this "land of the free," that we take time to seriously focus on what happened in Philadelphia, July 4, 1776 and what it means to us today.
Let me share an excerpt from that document that gave birth to our nation two hundred thirty-six years ago:
"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes, and accordingly, all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. . .
"We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do in the name and by authority of the good People of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right, ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."
What a noble commitment! What a great and magnificent nation resulted!
We are made aware every day that our country is not all that it should be. What are you and I willing to do to make it better?
What if every citizen of this land launched a personal initiative "with firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence," pledging to live an unselfish life of love and obedience to God and love and service to others?
Such an initiative makes a whole lot more sense than grumbling and complaining. It is really true: A better world begins with me!
"Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord." – Psa. 33:12