More than 60,000 fireworks lit up the New York City sky for twenty-five minutes last night in the nation’s largest Fourth of July celebration. Seattle ranked second, with a show lasting twenty-one minutes; next came Boston, with a twenty-minute extravaganza.
Americans spent more than $7 billion on Independence Day celebrations, up from $6.8 billion last year. Of that, $947 million was spent on food ($37 million just on ketchup). And we bought more than $5 million worth of US flags imported into the country (ironically, most came from China).
The news was not all festive, however. North Korea successfully launched a missile capable of reaching Alaska. A tropical wave in the Atlantic could become a storm or depression today. And police issued a stern warning after another dog was rescued from a hot car. But the news did not deter the celebration of our country’s birthday.
Independence Day is not a uniquely American occurrence. According to A Global World, 161 countries around the world celebrateIndependence Day, National Day, or a similar national holiday.
Despite the news, or rather because of it, we seek solidarity and community with each other. The reason is simple: we were made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26–27), and our Creator is one God in three Persons who relate intimately and eternally with each other.
Our Father’s commands to love one another are clear:
• “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. . . . You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37, 39).
• “Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).
• “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection” (Romans 10:9–10).
• “Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace” (2 Corinthians 13:11).
• “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
Such love is vital to the blessing of God upon a community and a country. When we love as Christ loves, we show the way to the forgiveness and freedom found only in him.
Archibald MacLeish, who received the Pulitzer Prize three times, was profoundly correct: “There are those, I know, who will say that the liberation of humanity, the freedom of man and mind, is nothing but a dream. They are right. It is the American dream.”
Even more, it is our Father’s dream. How will you help to fulfill it today?
Jim Denison, Ph.D., speaks and writes on cultural and contemporary issues. He produces a daily column which is distributed to more than 113,000 subscribers in 203 countries. He also writes for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Post, Common Call, and other publications.