I feel like kind of a rube, because I didn’t even realize the Fourth of July fell on a Sunday this year until a few days ago.
I guess that maybe tells you how much patriotism I’m planning to incorporate into Sunday worship. But July fourth is pretty big for a lot of churches. That’s about as big as the planets aligning, except Christians don’t pay attention to planets because astrology is evil.
Anyway, whether it’s on a Sunday or not, the Fourth of July has a lot of really big traditions in and out of the church besides fireworks. Here’s my top ways to celebrate America.
Eating a giant meal to celebrate a holiday is as American as…well, eating a giant meal any other day of the year. Chances are good that your church will throw a big potluck, and then you’ll go home and have a giant barbecue. My favorite part of July fourth potlucks? All the patriotic desserts that look like American flags. Every time I see a church lady with a perfectly arranged flag cake, it brings a patriotic tear to my eye. Right behind Easter peeps, I think American flag cakes with marshmallow stars is my fifth favorite way to consume marshmallows. (First through third place being: on a stick, “chubby bunny” games, and in fluff form straight out of the jar.)
Drink a lot of adult beverages
I worked as a grocery store cashier over a few Fourths, and let me tell you, Americans like to drink cheap, tasteless American “beer” to celebrate their freedom. It’s not surprising, really. Flag Day was two weeks ago, and the next excuse to party won’t be until Labor Day. And this is the only holiday where blowing stuff up is expressly encouraged, which always goes great with booze. I think we should institute a new July Fourth tradition. For one day only, I think every seat belt, helmet, and not-standing-on-your-motorcycle-while-careening-down-the-highway law should just be suspended for a day. There’s nothing like celebrating your freedom by using your freedom to try to hurt yourself, or at least killing a few brain cells you weren’t using.
Have “America Day” at church
God understands. We give him like 51 Sundays a year already. Well, maybe we shouldn’t count youth Sunday. And then there’s the Sunday after Christmas that’s always kind of weird and no one’s there. And Labor Day Sunday is kind of a wash. Well okay, after you take away the Sundays we aren’t phoning it in, it’s like 28 Sundays. Anyway, God understands it if we want to take a break from talking about his everlasting kingdom to celebrate the fact that we’ve somehow, in spite of ourselves, kept a democracy (sort of) going for two-hundred and fifty years. Plus, we’ve given the world pizza, chimichangas, and Chinese food. You’re welcome, Earth. God’s impressed too. And He really likes John Philip Sousa.
Sing that song about being proud to be an American
You know the song. “I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free…” I’m going to be bold and say I absolutely abhor that song. It is a blight on this country, and I want to stick ice picks in my ears every time I hear the first note of it…But dang it, I will defend to the death your right to sing it, loudly, and off key, in your pick up truck, with your gun rack in the back window, and a mangy dog riding in back, with your shirt sleeves ripped off, and a faded American flag dew rag on your head. Because that’s America, and these colors don’t run, so you can love it or leave it.
While you could watch a documentary to educate yourself on the history of Independence Day, most Americans are too tired from eating and blowing stuff up all day to be able to absorb a history lesson. Actually, I think it must be a little un-American to actually be aware of American history. I just heard the other day that 10% of Americans do not know that Hawaii is a state. Wow. And if you’re getting on Wikipedia to fact-check me on Hawaii, well I don’t know what to say except “congratulations.”
No, rather than learning about America, a better route when you’re too tired to blow up more stuff is to watch a movie with stuff being blown up. July fourth almost always has a movie releasing that sure to sate your patriotic appetite with lots of carnage. A few releases from previous July fourths include Die Hard 2, Terminator 2 or 3, Independence Day, Men in Black, Armageddon, War of the Worlds, and Transformers. Man, Americans sure do like ‘splosions!
Come together as Americans
I know that we Christians have a lot of differences. We like to squabble over petty matters with opinions we can’t back up. We like to debate matters about God that we’ll never prove. We like to draw lines in the sand with our brothers and sisters. When we’re done arguing about theology, we’ll argue about politics. When we’re done arguing about politics, we’ll argue about who’s to blame for the oil spill. But you know what, it really inspires me that for just one day out of the year, we can put aside all of our differences as Christians, and come together in unity as Americans.
How are you celebrating the Fourth this year?
Oh, and if you want to see a church that’s really into the Fourth of July, check this out. This is what church should be about all the time.