Naturally, everything on Facebook today is a reflection of some sort on Independence Day and freedom. This is entirely appropriate, even though in some circles it is considered politically incorrect, even racist. I make no apology for patriotism. I am not widely traveled, but as much as I want to go back to the countries I have visited to see again friends I have made, life is better here. There is a reason for all the illegal immigration: life here is better than there. Mike Rowe of "Dirty Jobs" fame put together a little video blog about four of the lesser known signers of the Declaration of Independence. He notes that they were the One-Percenters of their day; rich, privileged, powerful. They were not a mob with nothing to lose; they had everything to lose, and many of them did just that. Homes, fortunes, family, and for some, even their lives were sacrificed in the insurrection we call the Revolutionary War. They could easily have paid the additional taxes being levied upon them, but chose instead to resist the political corruption that threatened to forever make them subjects instead of citizens.
I am grateful they did so. Tonight we joined the kids for Fourth of July fireworks at Midway Park, one of the oldest continually running amusement parks in the country. As we watched, I thought of Frances Scott Key's immortal words, "and the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there." Our national anthem was born in the heat of battle over 200 years ago in 1814, as the British bombed Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. And I thought of our friends from Cuba who were visiting us two years ago during Sinclairville's History Days, which concluded with a fireworks display. They had never experienced such a thing, and were amazed at the spectacle. Our republican form of government is unique in the world, and has given us freedoms and prosperity unmatched anywhere in the world.
The analogy is hard to miss. Those men who risked all for what they called their "sacred honor" were not the first to do so. Our Lord Jesus Christ forfeited the glories of heaven, risking and ultimately giving his life so we could be free from the burden our sins laid upon us. He didn't have to, but he did, and the freedom that resulted is greater even than that won for us over 200 years ago. The only issue remaining is the one Benjamin Franklin posed at the signing of our Constitution. "You have a republic, if only you can keep it." That republic is under increasing attack today, as is Christian faith. We have a great salvation, if only we can keep it. With God's help, I will, and hopefully you will, too.