Good Friday morning …

God warns us against pride … but I have to admit … I am a proud man.

My pride is guarded … in my effort to always be thankful for that which makes me proud … but it is real. I am a proud man.

I am proud to be called a child of God, a “brother” to Christ, a man of faith. I am proud to be the husband of one wife … for all of fifty-three years and counting. I am proud to be the father of four grown children and the grandfather of twelve grandchildren, the fourth of which is a fourth-year pre-med student. That stirs my pride. I take pride in my home on Holly Oaks Lake… in keeping it up and maintaining the property on which it sets. I take pride in my twenty-two-year-old truck that still “runs like a top.”

But I must tell you this … I am also proud … VERY proud to be an American!!!

I, of course, had nothing to do with my being born an American. I was born of American parents. It was God who designed my family heritage. I was merely the recipient. But that makes me no less proud! I am proud to call America my home … and I have traveled the world enough to know I would want none other.

Despite what some would have you believe … I acknowledge America to be exceptional … and I mean truly exceptional.

We are a very special, extraordinarily unique country. Our founding fathers designed it that way … with remarkable freedoms built into the fabric of our government … with rights and privileges guaranteed to all citizens … with opportunities open to all … with civil liberties assured and pledged to all.

We are exceptional in the freedoms we enjoy … freedom of expression, of religion, of the press, of privacy, of association, of assembly, of petition … freedom to bear arms … freedom to live wherever and however we want as long as we don’t infringe on another’s freedom. These freedoms make us different from other “democracies” ... but they also make us exceptional! 

We are exceptional in the way we assist one another and millions around the world with our aid, our resources, our counsel. American generosity is unparalleled in the world today … and has been for centuries. Who is first to reach out to tsunami victims in Japan … earthquake victims in Sumatra, Chile, Haiti or Japan … hurricane victims in Haiti and Mexico? We are exceptional in the way we share our gained knowledge of science, technology, medicine, and the like … in the way we offer immediate assistance in times of crisis, opening the largesse of our pocket-books and sometimes even spending what we don’t have, borrowing against our future to do so. We are exceptional in the way we have fought for freedom and democracy in the past and promise to fight for freedom and democracy anywhere and everywhere in the future … in order to provide opportunity for others to share our cherished freedoms.

Yes … some people are jealous of us; and yes … some think we are proud and arrogant; but they, for the most part, want what we have. I see it … I hear … I observe it in my travels. People want to come to the US; they want to live where we live; they want to have the opportunities we have; they want the freedoms, the prospects, the options we have; they want the education, the jobs, the choices we have.

I believe we Americans have been given a tremendous challenge … and from whom much is given much is expected. I believe we have been assigned a leading role … tasked with the job of showing others a way to live peaceably, comfortably … with and among each other.

More importantly … I truly believe we have a witness to bear … a message to share … a concept to convey … and it is more than ideological, more than philosophical, more than political. There is a spiritual dimension to it as well.

We are not perfect … not by a long shot! We have made mistakes along the way. We have made unwise choices. We have failed to always be tolerant of others … neglected to always show kindness and compassion to those with whom we differ … ignored ways to show respect and regard for our opposition … and failed sometimes to simply “agree to disagree” … instead foisting our will upon a few others.

Our governance hasn’t always been pretty. It hasn’t always been smooth. It hasn’t always been carried out as designed. There are many squeaky wheels and there have been times when the wheels have come off the train. After all … we are a country of failed, sinful people made of clay feet … despite our great accomplishments. And we often falter and fold and flop about disappointedly.

But our founding documents … when examined and studied and followed … have always righted our path and have moved us forward a few more steps. My proudest moments as an American are when we see the error of our ways and move back toward what we were intended to be as one nation under God.

As Christians we are citizens of two kingdoms … the kingdom of this world and the kingdom of God. I am especially thankful (and proud) to claim my citizenship … not only of this earthly kingdom … but of this nation, The United States of America … “one nation under God with liberty and justice for all.”

May you have a blessed weekend, proud to be an American … blessed to be a child of God …

PR

In Christ God was reconciling the world unto Himself. [II Corinthians 5:19]

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God. [Matthew 5:9]

Service Times

8:00 AM - Traditional Worship Service

9:40 AM - Sunday School & Bible Study Classes for all ages

10:45 AM - Contemporary Worship Service

Holy Communion is celebrated at both services on the first and third Sundays of each month.

Location

Grace Lutheran Church & School

12200 McCormick Road
Jacksonville, FL 32225

(904) 928-9136

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