July 11, 2012 - What is more American than baseball, apple pie, and mom? As hard as it is for many in society today, I would answer that question with an expression of my Christian faith.
People today argue from the point of view of freedom FROM religion rather than freedom OF religion and the opportunity to express our faith.
Are we, as a nation, founded on Judeo-Christian principles? Decidedly, yes. If we look at the historical data and the history of our nation with open eyes it becomes very evident.
The Preamble of the Declaration of Independence says: We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal with certain inalienable rights, that among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
As you read the Constitutions of all 50 states that make up our great nation you will find reference to God, in many of them directly referencing the Creator.
While there is controversy in the wording, we proclaim we are one nation under God. Our coinage proclaims that it is in God we trust.
The early settlers of our nation gave thanks to God for successful voyage across the stormy seas and for providing them with food needed—in spite of the tragedies and hardships they faced.
We are a people who have been blessed by God. Stop and take a look around you.
Look at the beauty of His creation.
Look at all the material supplies He has poured upon our nation.
Look at how He has guided us as His faithful people for over 200 years. And then turn the other way and see how we have failed God.
We have turned from Him, rejected His guidance and His ways. We have turned from His teachings and when we look at the problems we face as a nation what do we do? We blame God.
God has called us to gather to worship Him and to celebrate the blessings He pours upon us as a society.
We just recently celebrated the freedom we are given to gather in worship as we decorated His skies with colorful of fireworks (thank you donors!) and the plumes of smoke that followed.
Remember God's people of old who, during the exodus, were led by God by a pillar of cloud by day that covered them and a pillar of fire by night that led the way before them? We, too, are led by God!
Do we see? Do we find the joys and blessings He has in store for us?
Too often we look for the smoke that covers our ways and seek to hide from the light.
Come out of the dark. Come into His Light.
Come and gather around His Word.
Seek Him while He may be found.
Let Him lead.
Do we see it? We are blessed. As we look to Him, Who gives all things, pass those blessings on to others.
When asked how you are, tell the person I am blessed—to be American!
The Rev. Kendall Schaeffer is pastor of St. Trinity Lutheran Church.