“Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness.”
Just recently, we celebrated the 235th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The essence of the declaration is well known: “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.”
Technically, we should not be celebrating on the 4th of July the birth of our nation, but our nation in the making. There was no Constitution just yet. There was no President just yet. But there were men and women more than willing to make it happen. And it did!
Now, our only concern should be to preserve this nation and keep it from growing old and weary. How can a nation stay young over the course of time?
“There are three main shapes or symbols in which a nation can show itself essentially glad and great – by the heroic in government, by the heroic in arms, and by the heroic in art…The most significant thing about any citizen is his attitude towards a holiday and his moral attitude towards a fight – that is, his way of accepting life and his way of accepting death.” (Heresy, G.K. Chesterton)
How true this is! How insightful! How many Americans today celebrate the nation's holidays with a proper devotion? How many of her citizens seek a fuller appreciation and understanding for the men and women who fought, studied and sacrificed for our great nation? How we celebrate the holidays and remember her founders will determine how we keep our nation from falling into decay.
Strikingly, the same holds true for our Beloved Church. Christ declared it over two thousand years ago, “they shall know you belong to me by the way you love.” The Lord broke with the past, from the oppression of burdensome laws and the slavery of sin, and brought true freedom to those who sought God’s Kingdom. But how we, members of his sacred Body, celebrate the holy days in our Church and remember her Saints will be a good barometer on how we shall preserve our Church and keep her from falling into disgrace.
Our Church is Christ’s Kingdom. It does what no nation could ever do, even the United States of America. It stretches across every nation, race, culture, and era. Her purpose, mission and declaration touches the hearts of all men, for it was made known to us by the God-Man. Her Lord and her Rock(s) have demonstrated, time after time again, that her purpose and plan, message and mission, when humbly given and tenaciously defended, may be received at first suspiciously but later surprisingly joyfully. Her message is Christ’s message: The Law must first be written in the heart before it can be written in stone or on paper.
Lord, make your Church, it’s pastors and priests, bishops and popes, laymen and laywomen, faithful to their calling, faithful in your service and creeds, without any hesitation or shame, for all the world to humbly hear and joyfully accept throughout time and for eternity. Amen.