I am blessed to have been born and raised in America. I am blessed to have traveled across this land and to have seen mountains, deserts, rolling plains, delta farmland, and even swamps. I have seen the busy big cities and the small rural towns with their good days behind them. I have seen the wealthy and the poor; the powerful and regular working guy. I have seen the old and the young; those educated and those without schooling. I have seen those with a dream and those who have lost their dream. I have seen and listened to the “red and yellow, black and white” and yes, I think they are all preciousin His sight.
I am proud to be an American. I believe in the “American Dream”. The dream that says regardless of your sex, race, ethnicity, or religion, if you work and apply yourself, you can make it! You can have a good life not supported by the government, but by having an honest job. The Lord has gifted individuals with talents and abilities that cause them to rise above the masses. And I think that’s fine. I would suspect that they will give an account to the Lord for what He gave them, just like He will with us.
I am proud to be a Christian. Before the foundation of the world, the Lord had my name written in His book of those who would call on the name of Jesus and to accept His Lordship in life and dedicate ourselves to living for Him. That will require accountability as well. Will my life be made of wood, hay and stubble or will it be made of gold, silver and precious jewels? I’m sure there will be plenty of ashes from that which will be burned, but I think I will be surprised by the things that He said was good.
I am not a veteran, but I am very proud of those men and women who have served and protected our nation by being in the military. I marvel at their determination and dedication. I appreciate their hard work and incredible training. I soberly remember that many have given their life to preserve our freedom.
While in Washington D.C., we visited Arlington National Cemetery. I know many of you have,as well. Like the Vietnam Memorial, there was a justified solemnity to this beautiful place that is the resting place for our fallen warriors. As I watched my fellow visitors, I paid additional attention to those who were veterans. They had their ball caps with their branch of service identified. Some had no outward clue, but you could tell by their stance and the way they presented themselves. I have seen many ex-military and it leaves an imprint on their life in many ways. Some had prosthetic’s that was a reminder of their service.
The day was hot and humid. My knees were hurting badly. I made it to Section 33 and had to stop. I asked a fellow visitor who was coming from the Tomb of the Unknown, how much further? She said it was more than I had walked and it was all uphill. I decided to go back to the Welcome center and borrow photos from my brother. As I waited for them to return, I watched the people and wondered if the proud tradition of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier would continue for much longer. A continuous guard has been on duty since 1937.
Why would I think that it could end? This year, there have been several military monuments vandalized. Three instances, just prior to Memorial Day weekend. The “America” that I love is deeply divided politically, racially, morally, you name it and we don’t seem to be able to agree on anything.
I don’t expect us to agree on everything, but shouldn’t we be able to listen to what our fellow countryman has to say and be able to discuss it with him without screaming or fighting. It doesn’t seem that we have a common goal any longer. No sense of being a community. We lack tolerance with one another. There are those who demand a “safe space or zone” to avoid even hearing a different opinion or view. That seems so immature and self -centered to me.
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you:” Matthew 5:44 KJV
We argue over if one color of skin matters more than another. All the while, we kill millions of unborn babies each year of every color. Those babies lives matter! What was their crime? Who did they insult?
We argue over politics. I have heard the argument that if you don’t like the President, it is because he is black and therefore you are a racist. Is it not possible to dislike his policies and his action without coming to the conclusion you must hate black people? What happened to MLK Jr. statement of judging a man not based on his skin color but by the content of his character? Can we not disagree intellectually?
We have differing opinions that have eroded over my lifetime. Our society had a greater influence from Christianity years ago, more than we have now. We are influenced by humanism and socialism now. It’s about ME, not US.
Christian, we have a responsibility to influence our society, to be “salt” and “light”. How are we doing with that assignment? Are we behaving as Jesus would want us to? Are we loving, blessing, doing good, and praying for those we disagree with? Take a position, yes, and defend your position, but with what attitude are you standing?
On our present course, I don’t see our nation as overcoming our problems. In the Bible, there are two words that were used often before God would do something incredible. Those two words were “, but God...” We don’t know what God is going to do with America, but at any time the narrative could change with “but God” changing the hearts of Christians and non-Christian Americans.
Brothers and Sisters, let us be faithful to our calling and let us set the example for making a difference in our conversations with our fellow Americans.