07-06-08 - Independence Day
Call to worship – Independence Day July 6, 2008
If I were to say the name “William Whipple”, would that name hold any meaning for you? What about the name “Caesar Rodney” or “John Morton”? How about “Button Gwuinnet” or “Lymon Hall”?
These are a few of the 56 men who, along with John Hancock, Sam Adams, and Thomas Jefferson put their names on a document claiming rights granted by God, and declaring 13 colonies to be a separate and independent nation.
We celebrate Independence Day on July 4th, but our nation’s independence didn’t occur on just one day. In fact, as opposed to popular belief, the Declaration wasn’t even signed on the 4th of July.
By July of 1776, we had already been at war with England for a year and it wasn’t going very well. Even so, in June of that same year, the 2nd Continental Congress began to consider a resolution put forth by Richard Henry Lee declaring independence. A committee was formed to draft a document explaining their reasons for independence, and on July 2nd the resolution passed. In a letter to his wife, John Adams stated his belief that the second of July would become a great American holiday.
The text of the document was approved on July 4, 1776, and this became the date associated with independence. The document was not actually signed by most of the delegates until August of that same year.
What we celebrate on the 4th of July is that God directed and ordained men to rise up against tyranny, and that He would grant and protect their freedom. The last paragraph reads as follows:
“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
We will be singing together 3 songs in honor of our nation’s birth. The first, the great song “America the Beautiful”; the second, one many of our founding fathers would know, “O God Our Help in Ages Past” as a declaration of praise to the one who provides and preserves our freedom; then, as a prayer for those currently fighting for what this nation stands for, “Eternal Father, Strong to Save”.