Some pa­tri­otic re­flec­tions for the 4th of July

Record Observer - - Religion -

The Fourth of July is upon us and no­body en­joys a party more than Yours Truly. I will of­fer any ex­cuse to break into some kind of a party mode. The slight­est hint of re­fresh­ments and I have my “these-boots-were-made­for-walk­ing” footwear on and I am ready to go.

I es­pe­cially like birth­day par­ties, when it is some­body else’s birth­day, that is. I have found when it is my birth­day party too many peo­ple want to con­grat­u­late me on an­other mile­stone in my life that I do not get a chance to en­joy the de­lec­ta­ble re­fresh­ments. Smil­ing and stuff­ing the face do not go to­gether.

But a pa­tri­otic party is some­thing al­to­gether dif­fer­ent. It is the birth­day of our coun­try and it is hard to imag­ine any­body cel­e­brat­ing too much on this an­niver­sary. Over 230 years ago, give or take, this coun­try came into be­ing. And what a coun­try it has been.

Do we have prob­lems? The only peo­ple with­out prob­lems are those rest­ing quite peace­fully at Boot Hill. If there is life, there are prob­lems. Our coun­try has been of such a na­ture that no prob­lem has been too big to solve. We are a na­tion of prob­lem solvers. Hence­forth, we need prob­lem mak­ers in or­der to prove what great prob­lem solvers we are.

If we had no prob­lems in our coun­try to­day no­body would know just how great we re­ally are at solv­ing prob­lems. I do not get up­set with all the prob­lems float­ing around in our coun­try to­day. I know any prob­lem is a tem­po­rary in­con­ve­nience and that in the long run, good usu­ally wins out.

As I was think­ing about this year’s Fourth of July cel­e­bra­tion, I be­gan to re­flect on all of the good in our coun­try. If you want to see any good in this coun­try, you first have to turn off the tele­vi­sion news­casts, lay aside the daily news­pa­per and turn off your ra­dio and then go take a stroll in the park where real life takes place.

I know the news me­dia has to do their job, but do they have to do it so well?

For ex­am­ple, if there is some so­cial burp some­where in our coun­try (es­pe­cially if it is some celebrity) the news me­dia from all over the coun­try goes to that spot and for the next week there is 24/7 cov­er­age of that lit­tle burp. Af­ter three days of con­stant news cov­er­age, it is not hard to con­clude that the en­tire world is go­ing to that re­ally hot place in a hand bas­ket.

For ev­ery neg­a­tive story in the news to­day, there are 99 un­re­ported in­ci­dences of peace and good­will to­ward men. Maybe it is a good thing that only bad sto­ries catch the head­lines. Maybe that is an in­di­ca­tion that in re­al­ity bad is the ex­cep­tion and good is the norm. Well, one can dream can’t he?

In spite of all the diss­ing of Amer­ica, there are plenty of things to cel­e­brate this com­ing Fourth of July.

I was at the su­per­mar­ket pick­ing up an item on my way home the other day and as I was wait­ing to pay the bill, I hap­pened to look at one of my dol­lar bills. Right in the mid­dle of that dol­lar bill in plain sight were the words, “In God We Trust.” I chuck­led to my­self. Ev­ery time some­one uses a dol­lar bill in this coun­try, they are giv­ing trib­ute to the awe­some fact that this coun­try was built upon trust in God. And not just any God, but the Judeo-Chris­tian God of the Holy Bible.

One of my fa­vorite sports is base­ball. Just be­fore any game the en­tire sta­dium stands and sings, The Star-Span­gled Ban­ner. In the mid­dle of that song there is a phrase that goes, “And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust!’”

Our found­ing fathers took for granted some­thing that this gen­er­a­tion has long ago for­got­ten. Ev­ery­thing in this coun­try is built upon God. Not some generic god, but the God of the Bible. To dis­avow that is to mis­un­der­stand what the found­ing of this coun­try was all about.

I of­ten hear peo­ple cry­ing out in de­fense of their ig­no­rance, “Sep­a­ra­tion of church and state.” That is about as pos­si­ble as sep­a­rat­ing the hy­dro­gen out of the air we breathe. It can be done but it leaves us with some­thing we can­not breathe and ex­ist.

Then, ev­ery time we look at the Amer­i­can flag, we are re­minded of the “Pledge of Al­le­giance to the Amer­i­can flag.” A lit­tle phrase in that pledge says, “One na­tion un­der God.” Again, the God re­ferred to is the God of the Bible.

For those who are trying to get away from God they have an impossible task on their hands. Ev­ery time they use an Amer­i­can dol­lar, they are ac­knowl­edg­ing our trust in God as a na­tion. Ev­ery time they go to a base­ball game and sing The Star-Span­gled Ban­ner, they are singing about their trust in God.

Even athe­ists in this coun­try have to start with God in or­der to de­fine who he or she is. If I did not be­lieve in God, I would not spend all my time and en­ergy and re­sources fight­ing against some­thing that I do not be­lieve ex­ists.

But as I cel­e­brate the Fourth of July, I will pause and give thanks to God for Amer­ica and I prob­a­bly will sing, “Amer­ica! Amer­ica! God shed his grace on thee.”

The Rev. James L. Sny­der is pas­tor of the Fam­ily of God Fel­low­ship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Sil­ver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or email jamess­ny­der2@att. net. The church web­site is www.whatafel­low­

BURRISVILLE — Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Burrisville, 200 Mt Zion Cir­cle, will cel­e­brate Fam­ily and Friends Day at 3:30 p.m. Sun­day, July 2, with guest speaker Rev. Ros­alind Hox­ter of Board­ley Chapel, Pond­town, ac­com­pa­nied by the Union Bethel AME Gospel Choir of Den­ton. Dress is ca­sual.

Pic­nic-style repast im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing the ser­vice.

The Rev. Lisa M. Graine is pas­tor.

STEVENSVILLE — Va­ca­tion Bible School at Is­land Al­liance Church be­gins July 24 through July 26 from 9 a.m. to noon, each day. Open to grades prek through fifth. Is­land Al­liance Church 510 Thomp­son Creek Road, Stevensville. VBS is free, but reg­is­tra­tion is en­cour­aged. Reg­is­ter on­line­landal­ or call 410643-5683.

STEVENSVILLE — Haven Min­istries Emer­gency Food Pantry is pro­vided the third Fri­day of ev­ery month (ex­cept Novem­ber) at Safe Har­bor Pres­by­te­rian Church in Stevensville, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The next dis­tri­bu­tion date will be July 21. More than 7,000 pounds of food is dis­trib­uted to needy fam­i­lies dur­ing each food dis­tri­bu­tion date.

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