Tomorrow Americans celebrate freedom. Dads fire up their grills. Moms ready their daughters with red and blue bows and dust off the red Radio Flyer. Teens cross county lines to purchase Black Cats, Ground Spinners, and Roman Candles - hoping the local authorities turn a blind eye (and deaf ear). Shriners polish their mini cars and don their Fez.
The Fourth stands for freedom and cries out for celebration. Freedom deserves celebration. Freedom also deserves protection.
The Apostle Paul wrote on the matter.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh rather, serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:13 (NIV)
While some people use freedom as an excuse, others recognize freedom's potential for good -- for good based in love. Anyone even vaguely aware of Christianity knows that those who call themselves Christians talk about love (hopefully, talk matched with action). However, "'love others" often sounds generic enough that it is received as a platitude rather than a powerful opportunity to impact lives for the better.
So let's help the platitude meet the Ordinary Road. In recognition of this week's national focus, how can we "love others" on July 4th?
- Invite someone new to your BBQ.
- Buy a neighbor kid a red wagon.
- Ask "one of the least of these" to join you for the fireworks show.
- Say "thank you" to at least one person who makes you smile.
- Pray for the leaders of our nation.
- Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
- Show appreciation for the people who planned your town's parade.
- Tell your daughter in the red and blue bow, "I love you."
- Help the teen who burns his fingers with the Roman Candle.
Christ set us free. That's worth celebrating. Celebrate with love.