There’s something about Independence Day that makes me slightly uneasy. Before you dismiss me and mumble something like, “If you don’t like it here, then go somewhere else,” let me ease your aggression and tell you that it has very little to do with America herself.
It goes without saying that the United States of America is an incredible place to live. I am aware that I get to experience the freedom and liberty that billions around the world long for. I’m grateful for that. Furthermore, I don’t quite know how to properly express my gratitude for the men, women, and families that have sacrificed so much for us to enjoy such liberties. This freedom that so many of us experience daily is most certainly an act of God’s grace.
With that in mind, let me try to express my uneasiness.
This weekend, church-goers all around the country will gather for worship. My discomfort lies in the concern that many of us will be worshiping the wrong thing.
As I’ve read or heard somewhere before, worship is attributing ultimate worth to something or someone. This weekend, the church should gather to exalt and attribute ultimate worth to Christ; however, many will likely gather this weekend to exalt and attribute ultimate worth to America. The cross and Christ crucified will take a backseat to Ol’ Glory.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I believe that God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. I believe that being a citizen of the United States of America is one of those gifts. And I believe that God the Father delights in seeing His children celebrate the gifts He’s given them. All I’m saying is let’s be careful about celebrating the gift more than the Giver.
So by all means, let’s celebrate our freedoms and liberties in our gatherings this weekend, but let’s reserve our actual worship for that which is “of first importance” (1 Cor. 15:3)—the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.