Walking the streets of New York on the fourth of July is a like going to a class in how many different ways can one show they are patriotic. Hats, shoes, pants, shirts, and shorts are just the beginning. The level of blatant enthusiasm and obsession with celebrating with food (hot dogs), exclaiming how strongly one feels (fireworks), and thanking those who serve (public statements along with stickers everywhere) is overwhelming! Everyone is involved! Everyone is participating. Or are they?
As I walked and watched there were two different kinds of people I had not noticed before. There were hundreds of foreign tourist who were trying to fit in but in many ways had no idea what was really going on. The celebrations in New York and many towns across America are just different from what they are used to at home. They were trying to get in the flow but had not quite found the right rhythm or beat.
There was also a small minority of Americans who were here but not involved. As I listened to their conversations it was as if they have been overcome by bitterness and anger at the people currently in charge, so much so that they could not get past the fact that many (most?) disagree with them. Their participation was forced, they couldn’t escape, yet they were determined not to celebrate! It was as if a smile was a loss to the enemy!
Things haven’t changed much in two thousand years. In Jesus day, as good as the gifts and opportunity being presented were, not everyone was participating. “‘Some of you are resisting, refusing to have any part in this.’ (Jesus knew from the start that some weren't going to risk themselves with him. He knew also who would betray him.)” (John 6.64)
Something changed around 9:15 last night. As hundreds of thousands gathered in the Seaport I found a totally different attitude. Everything was about fireworks. Everyone was there to see. Everyone seemed on the buzz.
There will be a day like this with God. Why wait?
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