Monday, July 5, 2010

Monday Morning Preacher: Preaching on the 4th of July

I don't think I've ever preached on the 4th of July, so I'll be curious to hear from y'all how you handled it. I ended up attending the First Church of the Emergency Vet Clinic (Stumpy McThumpster is fine), so I didn't hear a sermon yesterday.

For me, I think I would have approached this one of two ways: either to do an all-out, "Yes, this is Independence Day; what does this mean for us? How do we deal with church and state issues?" Or to acknowledge that I was not going to be talking about the 4th of July and saying that up front. Either way, though, I think I would have had to make a nod to the day; otherwise, people would be waiting for that shoe to drop.

But, again, I didn't preach and I didn't hear a sermon, so I'm very curious what other people did. It's a tricky juxtaposition. How did your church handle it?

(Man, this picture gives me the heebie-jeebies!)


Anonymous said...

Hi, Laura, I don't know how my church handled the 4th because I skipped this Sunday for family obligations (but then, so did my pastor). I did manage to post on my blog about church/state and how to reconcile. See
By the way, I assume that the picture gives you the heebie-jeebies because of the flag next to the altar. Yup. Amen to that.

it's margaret said...

I preached. Sunday lectionary and worked around to the revelation of the Kingdom as being our work --which knows no arbitrary boundaries.... and claims our citizenship.

It was amazing what a jumble each language (Hebrew, Greek, English, Spanish) made of the plural/not plural issue -individual, community, nation, people... each language translated the plural/singular to its own advantage....

and we included Thanksgivings in our prayers, gave thanks for the founding fathers and mothers in the Eucharistic prayer.... and had a petition present to sign pushing for immigration reform...

I think I hit all the gaps.... hoping so.

Anonymous said...

We had two different topics in one atypically short sermon:

one about how Independence Day didn't make it into the church calendar until the 1979 revision of the Book of Common Prayer - apparently the leaders of the fledgling Episcopal Church were willing to switch the recipient of their prayers from British king to American president in the first revision of 1789, but were unwilling to actually celebrate the recent revolutionary events that had mandated the shift!

the second about how those who enjoy liberty have a responsibility to ensure justice - with a sobering reminder about current attempts to restrict the human rights of illegal immigrants and the civil rights of their American-born children.

All in all, a good day to be in church.

LKT said...

How interesting! I didn't know that about the 1979 prayer book. Ted, thank you for the terrific link. And, Margaret, it sounds like you managed to fit everything in in a wonderful way. I hope more people comment! This is great stuff!

Anonymous said...

The discussion over at Ted's link reminds me of one of my favorite passages about the American Revolution, John Adams' reflections in a letter to Hezekiah Niles in 1818. The part about church and state is in paragraph 2:

"The American Revolution was not a common event. Its effects and consequences have already been awful over a great part of the globe. And when and where are they to cease?

But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations. While the king, and all in authority under him, were believed to govern in justice and mercy, according to the laws and constitution derived to them from the God of nature and transmitted to them by their ancestors, they thought themselves bound to pray for the king and queen and all the royal family, and all in authority under them, as ministers ordained of God for their good; but when they saw those powers renouncing all the principles of authority, and bent upon the destruction of all the securities of their lives, liberties, and properties, they thought it their duty to pray for the continental congress and all the thirteen State congresses, &c.

There might be, and there were others who thought less about religion and conscience, but had certain habitual sentiments of allegiance and loyalty derived from their education; but believing allegiance and protection to be reciprocal, when protection was withdrawn, they thought allegiance was dissolved.

Another alteration was common to all. The people of America had been educated in an habitual affection for England, as their mother country; and while they thought her a kind and tender parent, (erroneously enough, however, for she never was such a mother,) no affection could be more sincere. But when they found her a cruel beldam, willing like Lady Macbeth, to "dash their brains out," it is no wonder if their filial affections ceased, and were changed into indignation and horror.

This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution."