This is a very different 4th of July. We will celebrate, but for most of us, it will be in much smaller gatherings, mostly members of our immediate family. There will be fireworks—and they will provide a welcome distraction, but the real explosion is still the coronavirus. Covid-19 infections are soaring, even in officially cautious North Carolina. Of course, the official line is not everybody’s line. I continue to be amazed by the people I see in public spaces without masks. Some say they are declaring their independence—their right to breath without impediment. Some think that they are merely thumbing their noses at the rest of us. I say, “Come on folks, get safe and stay safe, we love you and need you, and we know that, deep down, you love us, too, even if you don’t always show us that love.”
This 4th of July gives us plenty of time for reflection. Some will spend our day watching old movies. Some will spend our day thinking about the pandemic and civil unrest, and a crumbling economy. Some among us will be unable to think about anything but looming bills and deadlines, and the very real specter of disease and death. The frontline workers are in more danger than ever before. Let us not forget them.
I hope and pray that each of us will have a little time to think about what a great opportunity now confronts us, as individuals and as a nation. As individuals, each of us can act to help others. We can finally and publicly speak out against prejudice in all its forms. Black Lives Matter! All Lives Matter! We can send along a gift, some relief to those who need it, without letting our left hand know what our right hand is doing. Some are more fortunate than others, and we have a greater responsibility. As citizens, we can act together to help our neighbors, our nations, ourselves.
I know this is a day to remember the Declaration of Independence, but let’s jump ahead a little. The preamble to the Constitution declares:
“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America…”
We are still establishing justice, for all, and insuring domestic tranquility. for all, and providing for the common defense, and promoting the general welfare, for all, and securing the blessings of liberty, for all, to ourselves and to our posterity. The work of forming “a more perfect union” goes on. Something tells me that the present crisis has provided Americans with the opportunity to make our nation more and more, “a more perfect union,” more and more, “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” I pray it is so.
Prayer: O God and Heavenly Father, Grant to us, as individuals and as a nation, the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed; the courage to change that which can and must be changed, and wisdom to know the one from the other, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.