What does Memorial Day, July 4, or Easter mean? How,doe we mark time? Our secularized and commercialized culture has lost the root significance of our holidays. We have made our holidays about distraction, entertainment, consumption, feasting and personal satisfaction. We tend to celebrate nothing larger than ourselves. We have taken the “holy” out of our holidays. Our holidays do not mark sacred ideas, God’s providence, national belonging or grander purposes. When we mark holidays by simply seeking a better time we do not address the deeper needs of our souls, our community, our nation or our world. Holidays should lift up significant ideals, people, and purposes. Celebrating a good day on the lake or around our picnic tables does not set the day apart as meaningful in the same way as coming together in corporate worship. Worship asks: what is “holi”: what is worthy of praise? Worship asks: what is less than holy and calls for our repentance? Coming together in worship upholds our souls and communities in ways that our many diversions can not.
I do not want to kill a good time. Last year we vacationed in Philadelphia on the Fourth and this year Acadia. However, we need more than fireworks and barbecue. We need to reconnect with our Creator who endowed us with certain inalienable rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A people who forget the Creator and mistake the pursuit of happiness for their highest ideal may whither like a cheap paper plate crushed by the weigh of their over-sized watermelon. Let us celebrate things of significance, let us consider larger ideas, let us pray for the nation, let us worship the Creator, let us live for the greater good, let us love of God and neighbor, let us celebrate, let us barbecue, let us send up the fireworks, let us cannonball of the docks, but let us celebrate with a focus beyond grabbing our own good time.
I hope you are making plans to worship with us on July 6 as we come together and worship in one place at one time in order to celebrate our nations birthday with song, prayer, and worship of our Almighty God who rules over all nations!
Grace and Peace