For those of us living in the United States, we are smack dab in the center of shaping human destiny…whether we like it or not. In just a matter of a few weeks, we will vote for a candidate who will guide our country for the next four years. He will determine policy, select justices who will interpret our constitution, and share his views of democracy—as seen through his unique lens—with leaders around the globe.
We take our liberty and freedom for granted. Just one quick read through President John Adam’s words to his wife in 1776 gives us an inkling of how far we have deviated from our founding fathers’ values: “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward for evermore.”
While we Americans do a great job of celebrating with pomp and parade—both July 4th as well as elections and inaugurations—I can’t help but be struck by Adam’s wishes for the day to be commemorated as “the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.” Celebrating this great country of ours with balIoons, banners, pomp and parade? No problem. Illuminations? Oh, yeah.
But this “solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty” mandate requires all of us who call ourselves American citizens to seriously reflect on our responsibilities of freedom. Are we, each and every one of us, praying solemnly and reverently for those who are throwing themselves into the line of fire for the sake of freedom? Are we educating our children as to the heroic acts of those who came before us, who valiantly fought for the sake of our liberty? Are we lifting up our President as he makes decisions impacting individuals around the globe? For while we have that ongoing “pursuit of happiness thing” down pat, celebrating freedom and liberty with solemn acts of devotion has lost its way out of our collective consciousness.
And it’s time we brought it back.
I love what Paul says about freedom in the book of Galations: “It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don't use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that's how freedom grows. For everything we know about God's Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That's an act of true freedom. Gal 5:13-14 (The Message)
How glorious that the citizens of Afghanistan are celebrating freedom with a national election! Freedom isn’t the birthright of Americans; it is a natural right, an innate right!
Whatever your political persuasions, and whoever your candidates, it is my hope that you devote significant time each day during these next few weeks to “solemn acts of devotion.” Take time out each and every day to pray for our country. Pray for the soldiers on the other side of the world who are currently fighting for others’ freedoms. Pray for their families…that they have peace about their loved ones’ safety and mission there.
Pray for our leaders…that, while keeping the courage to stand up for their convictions, they would continue to keep the interests of others at heart as well.
Pray for the safety of our citizens…and people around the globe…that we be protected from random acts of terrorism and violence.
Pray for issues surrounding this critical election: for the future of the Supreme Court; for those lacking a voice, like the unborn, the illiterate, the homeless, and for all other disenfranchised citizens living at the raw edge of our society; for the jobless; for our medical needs and our healthcare.
Promise to be ever mindful of your personal freedom, your liberty, and your rights. Pray with thanksgiving. Pour out a blessing on behalf of those to whom you owe it. Love others. And VOTE! Alyse O’Neill wrote: “A man can possess no more valuable right than the right to vote. It is the one way in which every man can have a voice in his government. It is a responsibility and a duty that no free man can shirk if he wants to remain free.”
BY ONE VOTE: Congress saved the U.S. Army from instant collapse by voting on August 12, 1941 to extend the Selective Service Act of 1940 (which was about to lapse) for another eighteen months…less than four months before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.
BY ON VOTE: Thomas Jefferson won the American Presidency over Aaron Burr when the election was thrown into the House of Representatives.
BY ONE VOTE: John Quincy Adams became President in a dead-lock between Adams and Andrew Jackson in 1824.
BY ONE VOTE: Rutherford B. Hayes became President over Samuel Tilden in 1876.
BY ONE VOTE: Texas was admitted into the Union in 1845.
BY ONE VOTE: The English language was chosen over German for America in 1775.
BY ONE VOTE: Hitler won the leadership of the German Nazi party in 1923.
VOTE! Vote because it is your priceless heritage. Vote because it is your responsibility to yourself and to your fellow countrymen. Vote because you need to have a voice in raising this next generation to greatness. Vote because it is your duty to help safeguard our future.