1 Corinthians 16:13-14
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”
When I was little, my Dad told me this story.
There was once a young man with a promising future. He had everything, but he also had a burning patriotism for his family. At the brink of his budding career, a war began. The prospects of the war were bleak. The young man came to his parents one day and said he was going to join the army.
His parents, instead of being proud, were upset and disappointed. They knew the reality of war, and they did not want their son to ‘throw his life away’. However, the son was obstinate and left eventually, leaving his parents behind him for the good of his country.
Several months later, after going through rigorous training and finally making it to the from lines, the young man was given one task with his troop.
“Keep the flag from being shot down.”
“Night fell. The tremendous bombardment eased off as boatloads of British troops slipped past the fort to attack the city. The Americans spotted the foray, and their guns roared, and again the British had to pull out of range. Desperate to finish off the fort, they redoubled their cannonade, bombs curling high in the night sky, their lit fuses streaking across it, then down to their bright burst. Commander Key, tirelessly watching, realized that the roar of British guns meant the fort still held; by the burst of bombs he could see the flag, still there.
And, in the faintest first light of dawn, at about the time the British command called off its Baltimore campaign, he spotted it. The rain had ceased; a stirring of wind opened it, and he made out the red of the stripes, the blue square. The American flag.
As a poet, Key could be suddenly and deeply moved, and instinctively he’d create rhythmic phrases to describe his feelings. All night, words had tumbled in his head: proudly hailed…gallantly streaming…bombs bursting in air…gave proof…Still there! Now he scribbled them on the back of a letter, then later, safely ashore in Baltimore, he wrote out and polished the song. Of course it had to be a song.”-Smithsonian Magazine
The young soldier and his regiment had spent the entire night holding the flag, even at the cost of several of their own lives. That soldier returned home in pride, and his parents could not have been more proud.
I will never forget that story. Even though my family is not military, we know many who have served. Today, I am appalled and shocked by how few of my generation would sacrifice their lives for, well, anything. Many of us have very different opinions, but we all stand under the same flag at the end of the day.
Also, nothing beats sitting under the clear stars and watching huge explosions. Whoever came up with fireworks for the Forth of July ought to be given chocolate. No matter where this country goes, it began under the oath, “Under God”, and I believe that we can stay that way. God appeared at the beginning of this great country, and though we may not all believe it, He is still here today.
Although, no one would deny how beautiful the sky looks when strewn with sparkling explosions.
It occurred to me when watching fireworks how insane fireworks actually are. Unlike other entertainment, fireworks have the unique ability to not only drown out every noise in the vicinity, but also cause pandemonium and complete silence at the same time. Everyone, from the oldest man to the child born yesterday, stare at the sky in wonder. A moment later, the sky erupts into a splattering of color and light.
The world suddenly doesn’t matter as the wonder of the moment allows everyone to focus on one thing. Staring at the night sky, covered in light. As it disappears, the fireworks leave behind a trail of gold sparks. My family sat close enough that the fireworks went off nearly directly above us. The sky glittered and I thought, “The fire looks like gold raining from the sky”.
These explosions are a representation, not only of what our young country has been through, but also the celebration we still have of those who stood for it. Just as the flashes and wonder remind us of all those who laid down their lives for us, so we should stand firm and celebrate all that has been done for us.
I like preaching, but I think we get the picture. There is a lot to be thankful for, and one of those things happens to be bright lights that we shoot into the air.
Be blessed today.