I can’t believe that July is already here. In America July is a big month. July is National Blueberry Month,
National Anti-Boredom Month, Unlucky Month for weddings, National Cell Phone Courtesy Month (we
sure need that), National Picnic month, and, perhaps most importantly, it is National Ice Cream Month.
Here are some of the important daily holidays in July: Build a Scarecrow Day, International Chicken Wing
Day, I Forgot Day, Eat Beans Day (I tend to stay home then), National Country Music Day (a personal
favorite), National Bikini Day (I gave up on speedos years ago), National Fried Chicken Day (Yum!), Ugly
Truck Day (it’s a “guy” thing), and International Day of Friendship (I love that idea).
By now some of you are thinking, he left out the main holiday of the month, Independence Day!
Nope, I’m getting there. The Fourth of July—also known as Independence Day or July 4th—has been a
federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes
back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted
in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of
Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 to the present day, July 4th
has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks,
parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.
Our independence as a nation is a wonderful gift, however, celebrating independence and freedom with
no regard to how this impacts all persons in our community is counter to the central message of the Bible.
Independence separates, but the Bible calls us to unity. When we seek freedom, independence, and
peace first and foremost for ourselves, we miss the mark. In the Christian tradition there is a Bible verse
that says, “For Christ is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down
the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us (Ephesians 2.14).” We are designed to live in community
and to be interdependent of one another. “Jesus Christ does not build walls, Christians build walls. Faith
does not build walls, fear builds walls. Love does not build walls, hate builds walls. Understanding does
not build walls, ignorance builds walls. Need does not build walls, privilege builds walls.”1 St. Paul says,
“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for
all of you are one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3.28).” And as Tom Trenney puts it, “There is no longer black
or white, there is no longer gay or straight, there is no longer Republican or Democrat, there is no longer
American or foreigner, for all of us are one in Christ Jesus.” Independence, freedom, and peace is for all!
From the Corner
is written by the
Rev. Keith M. Haithcock,
Pastor & Teacher of
St. John United Church of Christ
0n the corner of
Fairfield and Ward Aves.,