A few weeks ago, I went blueberry picking at a local farm. I’m thankful they don’t have security cameras because I was popping juicy blueberries left and right. Goodness they are delicious right off the bush! The morning I chose to go was unseasonably cool and I took my time searching for that beautiful blue-berry. All alone with my thoughts and the sunshine. I picked way more than my stomach or bucket could hold, but my soul was full.
July makes me think of all things red, white and blue. Americans celebrate our freedom by remembering the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Flags fly proudly, fireworks light up the sky and the smell of smoked meat fills the air. There is nothing cuter than a toddler in a red and blue striped bathing suit. Every year I wish I had one of those suits but I’m not sure stripes on this MAMA’s body would evoke the same cute factor. HA! I’ll stick to making the food table pretty. I wonder how many red watermelons have graced the tables of July 4thcelebrations? My favorite dessert is a simple vanilla cake, covered in cool whip with blueberry stars and strawberry stripes. Patriotic and delicious!
As Christ-followers we can celebrate by remembering the Declaration of Sin-independence. Sin rules our lives much like the King of England ruled the colonists; with oppression and corruption. Sin controls us even though we imagine we have free reign. Our selfish desires and emotional whims dictate the day. We are helpless to rise above it and need a Savior to rescue us. Jesus paid for our freedom from sin with his blood. Humbly, he came to earth to make his home with us. He welcomed all to hear his truth and feel his touch. The freedom he offered was unlike anything we knew or understood. We each must sign that declaration by surrendering our control at the feet of a holy God, and picking up the free gift of unconditional love and true righteousness. The freedoms we enjoy in America are great, but they are nothing compared to freedom in Christ.
As free as we are here in America, believers around the world face persecution and even death. Every day there are Christians who must exhibit great courage to gather, worship and live out their faith. They serve and worship the same God we do. The Bible they read is the same scripture we hold and they will receive the same gift of eternal life with Jesus. We are sisters and brothers strewn across ocean and land. Thank God for the freedom you have, and pray for those who do not experience the same.
I recently read the full version of the Star Spangled Banner. With a few changes to the final verse, I believe it reiterates our faith and freedom.
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a holy nation!
Then conquer Jesus did, because his cause was just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the blood-stained cross in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Happy July and may your blueberries may be popping with sweet goodness!