Sunday is the fourth of July. The front of our church is decorated in red, white and blue bunting to respect our nation's Independence Day. During the prayers we will give God thanks for our nation and ask God to guide the leaders of our country. Since Sunday actually falls on the fourth this year we will also sing "Oh Beautiful for Spacious Skies" in honor of the day - it is in our hymnal.
The Fourth of July is an important observance in our nation's history, but is not a Church festival. Church festivals are based on significant events in the life-story of Jesus or the life of the Church. While we might acknowledge a secular date like the fourth of July or Mother's Day during our worship service, such days do not make up the theme for our whole service. That is because worship is directed to God and secular observances are about our nation or our culture. Worshiping God and honoring our nation are two separate things.
Sometimes people wonder why we do not have "Fourth of July" Sunday in the church, or "Memorial Day" Sunday. While those are worthy events to recognize, they relate to our national story, not to our faith in God. In worship we turn our hearts and minds to God as we recall how God has acted throughout history to give us life, hope, salvation. Thus we set aside days to celebrate "Christmas" when Jesus was born and Easter when Jesus rose from the dead, in our worship but not days like Labor Day or Father's Day.
This Sunday is July 4th. During worship we will give thanks to God for this land that is our home. We will ask God to guide and uphold our nation's leaders and the leaders of all countries so that people everywhere may have justice, freedom, and abundant life.