Today, Independence Day, I am pondering what ‘Proud to be an American’
does not mean.
It does not mean that God looked at me and said, ‘What a special little Prude! I think I’ll build a great country around her!”
No, there isn’t anything inherently special about me or anything I did to earn America and whatever freedoms and benefits it supplies.
It doesn’t mean God looked at me and said, ‘Well now that I have my favorite Prude safely ensconced in the USA I’m shutting the door so she doesn’t have to share.”
No, I don’t get to keep the USA to myself. I share with any and all who hold her precious, abide by her laws, who make a commitment to serve her and improve her.
It doesn’t mean God said, “What a smart little Prude! I can trust her to make and interpret rules and laws by whatever standard she chooses. I trust that Prude.’
No, law isn’t written in sand. It is in stone. However, we need to look at the stone from all angles and in all lights to make sure we comprehend its depth and breadth and multiple facets,
It doesn’t mean God said, ‘Now that I have a perfect Prude in a perfect nation I just know everything will go splendidly!’
No. Goodness no. I’ve made mistakes. I’ll miss the mark, sometimes ignorantly and ofttimes willfully. So have and will every one of our leaders, from the first native chieftain who set foot on these shores a millennia or so back to the current dogcatcher, coroner and Chief Executive.
What does it mean that I am proud to be an American?
It means I accept the gift of my heritage with humility and a promise to guard and even improve the gift.
It means I welcome all who come to this nation seeking a better life, who will submit to her authority and pledge earthly allegiance to her.
It means I honor the law of the land, always interpreting it in the light of the absolute Law.
It means I pray for the leaders God has in authority over me. I speak of them with honor and respect because they bear a great and terrible burden and they are just as frail as I.
Enjoy this Independence Day. It’s a reminder of a gift that, in spite of our misuse and the damage we’ve inflicted, is still a wonder of great worth.