We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
These are important words. They are challenging words. They are the kind of words that start wars. People for over two centuries have gone into battle to fight for our belief that these words mean something. I will spend some time this week thinking about the men and women who have given their lives so that these words are kept strong around the world. I am thankful for soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and the guard for making this happen. I was thrilled to say a word about our own Lt. Kris Farrar while he was with us in worship this past Sunday.
These are powerful words, indeed. But how many of us remembered that found within the previous words of the document that would push the fledgling colonies towards winning independence is a statement about God, our Creator? Statements and study about God is most often referred to as theology. Theology made it into the Declaration of Independence.
It remains there today. As United Methodists, we believe that people, while corrupted by sin, are free to make their own choices because of God's divine grace. We have freedom to choose to embrace God - and the same freedom to turn away and reject God. We exercise that freedom everyday in every deed, word and thought.
The church is a gathering of those who believe in the Creator of Life, Liberty, and Happiness. The church is the place where the truth about those things is proclaimed, and where people are encouraged in their daily lives to strive for them. So we started this week around a Table with bread and a cup, and now go forth as those aware of our blessings and the high calling that goes with them.
Grace and Peace and may the United States of America bless God. Amen.