I think we often forget that America was and is an experiment. At no other time in history has the setting and the resources been so right to begin a democracy. And the fact that the country is still strong and a leader in the free world is a tribute to those who envisioned it and built it with the tools to make it sustainable. We have every reason to celebrate its beginnings tomorrow: Happy Birthday America!
Something we also forget, however, is that we are a nation of immigrants. Everyone who founded this country escaped here from somewhere else. They came seeking a better place to build their families and pursue their dreams. This is why it is so hypocritical of us to close our doors to those who are attempting to do the same thing today. We shut the door to the ark; we put an end to the experiment.
God left no doubt as to the importance of the foreigner, the alien and the immigrant in both the Old and the New Testaments. Provision is made for them in the nation of Israel and in the founding of the church.“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2).
Of course we have to confess that the blot on the experiment was our treatment of the original natives of this country. Too bad that the cooperation we idealize at Thanksgiving couldn’t have been part of the experiment too. Imagine what might have happened had the indigenous people of America been treated with honor and respect and given a voice in the government of the people, by the people and for the people.
The point is: when you see an American flag this weekend, don’t see a bunch of white males with wigs drafting a constitution. See people of all races, all colors, all faiths, and both genders, for that is what America is. And, by the way, that’s what the kingdom of God looks like, too.
So celebrate the Fourth of July. Celebrate America. Celebrate freedom. Celebrate the chance to start over. Celebrate the immigrant and the native. The Grand Lady still welcomes the huddled masses. Celebrate diversity. The experiment lives on.