We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity.
We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied
and enriched and strengthened us. And we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness
of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated now with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming
and persevering grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. “ Abraham
Lincoln …mid 1800s
As our nation prepares
to celebrate our 230th birthday, I am remembering other times and places where destiny found me on America’s
birthday. I was in Agana, Guam for the 200th birthday where I had been dispatched for the American Red Cross recovery
efforts in the wake of Supertyphoon Pamela. Despite devastation the storm wrought
on the whole island, thousands of Guamanians, garbed in red, white, and blue, marched in a
bicentennnial celebration parade that lasted nearly all day. An American
flag was raised there on Government House at one second past midnight “where America’s day begins” and then
immediately lowered and dispatched aboard a Pan Am airlines flight to Washington, DC where at the end of the day it was hoisted
on the nation’s Capitol. Other 4ths found me in Greenland, Japan,
Germany, Liberia, Malawi, Russia, and other places around the globe. This year,
Lord willing, I will salute the red, white, and blue with brother in my native Kentucky.
The colors of our national flag represent, among other things, the fifty states, the original
thirteen colonies, courage, peace, and sacrifice. But the blue in the flag has significant meaning beyond patriotism.
David Roper, recalled that the children of Israel used blue thread in the tassels of their garments as a sign of God’s
immeasurable power and saving grace. We still need reminders today, he writes,
to remind us of God’s love and presence: “If
you learn God’s signs – like the significance of the color blue –
it will be easier to remember God’s love. Blue can remind you of the invisible realm above and all around, unseen and yet as real as
anything you can see. A mountain
lake...an alpine forget-me-not, a cerulean sky – all remind us of heaven and God’s unfathomable love. When you see blue, think of God’s love, and especially His love for you.”
Blessedly, I look eastward from my home to
the Blue Ridge mountains etched beneath glorious blue skies most of these summer days.
Blue flowers brighten the gardens on my front lawn and blue icons light up my computer screen. Bluejays are frequent visitors at the feeders. I send up a
Deo Gratis for all things blue and for the blessings of freedom manifested in Old Glory and in my so richly blessed native