What will you do to celebrate the Fourth of July? Maybe you will have a picnic and set off some fireworks or maybe you will just spend the day with friends and family and enjoy a long-awaited day off.
This week, on the 4th of July, we will celebrate our nation’s 244th birthday. On this day we celebrate the precious gift of freedom because of the price others have paid. The ideal of freedom is one that our founding fathers believed valuable enough to risk everything on. They risked their fortunes, their families, their reputations and their sacred honor. They risked their very lives and many of them paid for our freedom with their blood and the blood of their children.
Today as we worship in security and comfort, we do so because thou- sands of young men and women have given their lives and shed their blood on foreign soil. They died in forsaken places with names not remembered so that we could experience the joy of freedom. No, freedom is not free. The price is always paid in blood.
Freedom can also be lost. Together, as a country, we are witnessing the fraying of our society. The 40th President of the United States once said, “Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and de- fended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.”
So, freedom is a gift paid by others and it can be lost. This is true spiritually as well. Christ Jesus paid for our eternal freedom with his most holy precious blood, and it can all be lost if we turn away from Christ and back to a life of unbelief and sin. St. Paul said, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). Such wise words for us to consider on this Independence Day!
Pastor Bryan E. Drebes
Pastor Drebes attended Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, beginning in 1997. He spent the summer of 1999 teaching English to Chinese middle school teachers in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. He served a four-month vicarage at St. John Lutheran Church, Plymouth, Wisconsin, followed by eight months at Bethany Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kansas. Pastor Drebes was ordained into the Office of the Holy Ministry at Zion Lutheran Church, Palmyra, Missouri on August 19, 2001, and installed as Associate Pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kansas on September 9, 2001. He served Bethany for 14 years. Pastor Drebes accepted a Divine