In part 1, I exhorted you to check out the Declaration of Independence. I did this because I believe that growing in one’s immediate, temporal context enables one to grow in his or her global and eternal context.
Through understanding and appreciation, we are both challenged and equipped to activate the eternal purposes of God expressed in time-space reality.
“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for, ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’” ~ Acts 17:26-29
When you gain national context within a theological framework, you realize that this far more than just a single day in a single nation.
America, like all other nations, stems ultimately from Adam. And despite any political drama associated with this, Paul’s teaching suggests that God has “birthed” America, while determining both her periods and perimeters as well.
…that they should seek God…to feel their way toward him and find him.
This is the goal for every nation throughout history, but many have refused.
The Declaration of Independence begins:
“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.”
It’s honestly one of the most beautifully crafted, well supported documents of separation we could ever find. If only people who dissolve their marriages and businesses were so thoughtful and persevering!
And think upon the worldview expressed. At worst, it’s Deistic. As Ravi Zacharias has said, “Naturalism (such as atheism, Darwinism, skepticism, agnosticism) could never pen such words. Nor could pantheism (such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Native American religions).”
Further, it reads,
“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions…”
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
Who is even aware of this? Who cares and takes this seriously in light of the passage above?
In history classes today, the Declaration of Independence is at best a decoration on a crowded wall of historical figures and team sports pictures. It’s hardly ever read; our kids just read about it.
My education background exposed me to this “filtered” academic approach.
Secondary sources are great if we have no other choice. But to ignore primary sources that are available is a serious problem.
Imagine living in a marriage without choosing to access to the primary source (your spouse). Sounds ridiculous, right?! Or what if religious folks never read their sacred creeds, but just books about them. What if your lawyer chose to ignore the primary sources while defending you in court?
We would be outraged if we were on the receiving end of such irresponsible passivity. But are we doing this?
There are a few reasons I chose to write on this topic, so please understand my motives.
1) I’m not placing America on a pedestal! As Paul taught, God is intimately involved with the inception all nations and desires to be their pursuit.
Even though the scope of this blog series was not to prove such, much of America’s founding indicates that God was pursued.
In general, I seek to remind myself, and others, that good things don’t just drop freely out of the sky. It takes diligent ownership to maintain something (a family, business or a nation), especially to improve it!
What breaks my heart is when humanity fills itself with activity devoid of context. Symbols without substance are frivolous.
2) To inform or remind you that you are here for a reason. So are your family and friends. And even your nation! The existence of any of these is one of the best proofs of Providence for the time and place of existing is very much out of our control.
Why are you here? Your loved ones? America? Now? Here? Look past the pretty lights and find the meaning, the true spark.
This is when moments and movements become personal, and we transition from passive consumers to active contributors, from fun frivolity to a faith-filled fellowship.
3) To spark our gratefulness. As I wrote in last year’s entry, “Happy Brexit! (Independence Day)”:
Enjoy the family, friends, food, and fireworks, but never forget that our freedom was bought through someone else’s forfeiture. Our favor stands upon their forbearance and forsakenness…Privilege is not found in patriotism or polity; it is found in a Person. (Gal. 5:1, 13-14)
As a Christian, my identity will never be solely or primarily derived from my temporal, time-space qualities (nationality, ethnicity, gender, economic standing), however, the time and place in which I have been brought into existence is of infinite importance for in it we find time and eternity, earth and heaven kissing through the sovereign will of God.
Here are my favorite “explosions in the sky”: