Friday, July 04, 2008

Freedom to Worship

There are many freedoms to reflect upon this Independence Day (the freedom to surf an uncensored 'Net being one of them), but this week I'm especially reminded of the freedom to worship God openly. I take for granted the freedom to pray before a meal in the middle of a crowded restaurant, or to listen to Christian music over the loudspeaker in certain stores, or to have my choose of churches in the Deep South where there is a church on every corner.

On Wednesday night at church we saw a couple who had just flown home from China, where they are doing mission work. I wondered if it was a bit of a shock to their system (in a good way) to suddenly be back in a country where they can worship openly, without fear of being arrested or losing their jobs.

I have very mixed emotions about China playing host to the Olympics. While I take issue with their attitudes on human rights, censorship, etc., I am prayerful that the Olympics will provide a stage in which persecution can be exposed and abolished. However, I have a feeling that those who do suffer persecution--in China and all around the world--for their faith probably appreciate every ounce of freedom they have, much more than those of us who live in countries where Christianity is still accepted.

As you mark this day of freedom, let me encourage you to celebrate the freedom we have to worship God how we want, when we want, where we want. We have so much to be thankful for. Certainly I am thankful for the men and women in our military who have fought for and continue to guard our freedom here in the U.S. I am even more thankful for the freedom we have to live in Christ, because of His sacrifice of His own life for us. For us Christians, every day is Independence Day.

Happy 4th, everyone!