Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
July 2, 2017
Celebrating freedom with fireworks and prayers
This weekend in America we will celebrate the fourth of July with fireworks, barbeque, watermelons, singing – and prayers. In our churches prayers will be offered to remember the sacrifice made by millions who fought and died for our country. Prayers will be offered for our troops who are now in harm’s way. The brave men and women in uniform today deserve our support and prayers.
Wars stain the pages of recorded history. The human race has never found a way to live in peace. Twice America has fought in “the war to end all wars,” but wars continue to the present hour. Given the alarming increase of terrorism, peace-loving nations must now engage in a global war against the ruthless people who would enslave us.
In church we will sing songs about freedom, songs like “God Bless America,” “America the Beautiful,” and “God Bless the USA.” We will sing with gratitude to God about our “sweet land of liberty,” the land precious to us because it is the “land where our fathers died.”
We will sing a prayer to God, pleading for his help with this sincere request: “long may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light; protect us by thy might, great God, our King.” Such prayers are necessary because no nation can long enjoy freedom without the help of almighty God.
When one nation attempts to conquer another, people rise up in anger to protect their freedom. Some wars last for years, resulting in unbelievable bloodshed.
People with power and money have always wanted servants or slaves. We all know the sad story of slavery in America. That story reminds us that slavery has never been popular among slaves. The Jews hated their enslavement to the Egyptians and the Babylonians. Slavery in America was insufferable to the men and women who were shipped over like cattle from Africa.
Sooner or later oppressed people rebel against their oppressors. People have an innate desire to be free. People of my persuasion believe that the inherent desire for freedom springs from the fact that all people are created in the image of God. Our Maker has planted within the human heart the longing for self-determination, or to put it more simply, liberty.
When Jesus announced to a stunned synagogue crowd his mission in life, he said he had come to proclaim freedom for captives. He spoke to Jews who longed to be free of the harsh heel of the Roman Empire. Those who embrace Jesus as Lord discover the pathway to genuine freedom.
Across the centuries men and women have fought and died for freedom. In the 14th Century William Wallace of Scotland fought against injustice and died trying to free his people from English tyrants. Who can ever forget the breathtaking moment when Wallace (Mel Gibson in Braveheart) raised his sword and screamed the word “Freedom!”? Wallace’s fellow patriots went on after Wallace’s death to win Scottish freedom, but at the cost of thousands of lives.
As we enjoy our holiday celebration, we do well to pause and give thanks for the sacrifice many have paid for our freedom, and also pray for ways to help the millions in our world to whom freedom is denied. + + +