Posted by: Andrea Mullins | 2 July, 2009

The British Are Coming, the British Are Coming!—and Other Signs of Freedom

Eating a hot dog at a Birmingham Barons game, followed by watching some spectacular fireworks, is what you’ll likely find me doing this Independence Day. Just in case you don’t remember what this day is about, we celebrate it every July 4, commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Life wasn’t all that peaceful at the time of the signing. Our nation was under the rule of England’s King George III and there was growing unrest because of the taxes that had to be paid to England.  Growing concern over “taxation without representation” led 12 of the 13 colonies to send delegates to form the First Continental Congress in 1774 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

When British troops advanced into Massachusetts in April 1775, Paul Revere sounded the warning of “The British are coming, the British are coming” as he rode his horse through the late night streets toward Lexington. This was the beginning of the American war for independence.

When all efforts for a peaceful agreement failed, a committee was formed to write a declaration of independence. On June 28, 1776, Thomas Jefferson presented a draft of the declaration to the Congress, on July 2 twelve colonies voted for independence, and on July 4 the final revised Declaration of Independence was approved, with a flourishing signature by John Hancock that the King could not miss. 

Every year we celebrate this radical decision that birthed our nation and introduced us to freedoms unknown by any other nation until this time. We enjoy freedom of faith, freedom of arms, freedom of speech, and the list goes on.

Don’t forget that you also have another kind of freedom, just as radical, even more radical, than the freedoms we enjoy in the US.  As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians: In [this] freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery [which you have once put off]” (Galatians 5:1 AMP).

We have paid a high price for the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of our nation. This is what we would expect. Freedom comes with a price. But the radical nature of our freedom in Christ is that God paid the price. Our freedom is revolutionary because we have been freed to live the Great Commandment, to love others as ourselves, and this is the most radical of all freedoms.

As I eat my hotdog and watch the fireworks, I will be thankful for the gift of freedom I enjoy as an American citizen, but even more so for the freedom I have in Christ. I will pray that my life be marked by the same self-giving that led Christ to give himself for me.

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