Should Christians celebrate Independence Day in Church? We’ve done many articles in our “Should Christians celebrate” series. Most of these deal with objections to specific holidays based on their origins. Christmas and Easter in particular are often objected to because they are believed to stem from pagan celebrations.
Independence Day in the United States is somewhat different. The objection here is not that the holiday itself has questionable origins. Its whether or not we should celebrate our country in a worship service.
Many churches I’ve attended will have a special service on the 4th of July weekend. We will sing patriotic songs, and the focus of the service is geared towards celebrating America. While these things are good in their own right, I’ve often been uncomfortable with how far this can go in worship.
We have much to be thankful for living in the United States. Even with our current state of affairs in 2020, we still have remarkable freedom of religion. And while I see challenges on the horizon, we can still live feely and openly as Christians.
But does this mean we should celebrate this during a worship service? We tend to view these issues in the context of our own country and our own time. We see nothing wrong with celebrating our particular Country in worship. But how comfortable would we be if we saw the same things taking place in a Church in Germany in the late 1930’s? Would we be comfortable with a Church singing praises to mother Germany?
Now, I am NOT making a comparison between the United States and Nazi Germany. I think the United States has been one of the greatest forces for good the world has ever known. But is this something that is appropriate to celebrate during worship service?
I see nothing wrong with saying prayers for our country in Church. Praying for our leaders and our government should be something every Christian should do. But we can go overboard with the patriotism in worship. If the focus of our worship is no longer on God, but on our country, then we are missing something.
So yes, we should be thankful for our Country. We should pray for our country and its leaders as individuals and as congregations. We can even sing a petitionary song like “God bless America”. But when the service shifts its entire focus onto our country rather than the One that gave us life and liberty in the first place, we are looking in the wrong direction.
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