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First Posted by Robert Certain on Monday Jul. 03, 2017

    July 4, 1776 – Declaration of Independence: When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. … We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    September 17, 1787 – Constitution: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    November 19, 1863 – Gettysburg Address: It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—…—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

    Deuteronomy: You shall fear the LORD your God; him alone you shall worship; to him you shall hold fast, and by his name you shall swear. He is your praise; he is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things that your own eyes have seen.

    Hebrews: All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.

    Matthew: Jesus said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

    There is an odd reading of American history (and current life) today that we are NOT a “light to the nations”; that we are not a melting pot bringing new hope and new life to a divided world; that we are not “last best hope for humanity”; that our founders were not “Christians.”

    We can look at our history and find lots of flaws and feel bad about ourselves and deny the good that is there. We can look at our history and see only good and deny the flaws. Or we can look at our history and see balance – God’s hand at work in our broken and sinful world.

    The unpopularity of the last choice comes from misguided understanding of who we are as the redeemed people of God. Henry Kissinger once called this view “narcissistic masochism”; a condition in which we engage in an overestimation of our own appearance and abilities and an excessive need for admiration (narcissism) and at the same time enjoy the misery of our failures, especially in order to be pitied by others or admired for our forbearance (masochism).

    We are a nation in need of repentance: to turn from our own pride and back to God. The same thing can be said about our faith communities (at all levels); the same thing can be said about our individual selves and our families.

    As we celebrate 241 years of American independence from Great Britain, let us recommit ourselves to the principles on which this nation was founded. Let us also recommit ourselves to the families we have pledged to love for all of our lives, to the faith community that has nurtured us as the people of God, and to the God who has given us life, love, and freedom

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