Someone once asked me, “If such American holidays are part of the ‘empire,’ what should we [Christians] do? Ignore it?” I think that’s a great question. I don’t want to be too critical of American holidays because there are many good reminders in them, and that’s what I’d like to focus on here.
Let’s look at it this way—the 4th of July is on Saturday, and so it will likely be that many Christians will celebrate this event on Sunday the 5th. A general question is, should we celebrate an American holiday on Sundays, waving flags, putting our PowerPoints in red, white, and blue font, etc.? The answer simply is, such things are unnecessary for our gatherings. However, I do think there is value in partaking in an Independence Day celebration. Here’s a few things I think we should focus on this weekend:
1. Freedom. I’m not talking about surfacey, “Lord, thank you that we live in a country where we are free to worship you,” or things like that. Those things are often true, but they’ve become cliché. Christians must promote freedom in Christ. Christ most certainly came to bring freedom to the captives. This doesn’t mean that America is Christ’s right arm. It means that on Independence Day let’s be sure to remember the freedom Christ gave us.
2. Prayer. We must pray for those who serve our country, that is, our leaders. Pray for Obama, pray for your Governor, your representatives, and so on. They need prayer.
3. Joy. Be joyful in the friends and family the Lord has provided you with. Be joyful in the creation since many of us will be playing wiffle ball or chasing fireflies. These things cherish God’s creation.
4. Beauty. One of my favorite Independence Day traditions is going to see fireworks. I think we are attracted to their beauty. You will be part of many beautiful things this weekend so appreciate them.
5. Interdependence. See Shane’s article below. But the fact is, holidays remind us how dependent we are on one another. As someone makes you a burger, or invites you to play volleyball, or turns on your fire hydrant for the kids in the neighborhood, remember we are all in this together.
Those are just a few thoughts. What about you? What should Christians celebrate this weekend?
For a few more thoughts, go see Shane Claiborne’s post on Sojourners called: “40 Ways to Celebrate Interdependence Day on July 4”