Fireworks and Cannons

Last night, Jacob and I went to a little spot on top of a hill in Inglewood, about 5 miles northeast of downtown Nashville, where we watched the Nashville fireworks show. It was, as always, a very extravagant performance with fireworks blasting in time with the live orchestra. Because we were 5 miles away, the booming sounds from the fireworks did not reach our ears for some 8-9 seconds after the show started. But once it did, it was instantly reminiscent of the sounds that we might have heard had we been transported to the scene of the war for our independence...cannons and gun shots sounding in the near distance, fire lighting up the sky. Of course you and I only have a concept of this audible drama from movies. Nonetheless it was a bit eerie to close my eyes and imagine that we were really in the middle of a hand-to-hand combat war.

Just as prominent on my mind was the thought that we have no idea how costly our freedom is. You and I have always had the freedom to worship however and whenever we want to, to say anything we feel like saying, to elect our own law makers and officials, and to pursue our own dreams and aspirations. We take our freedom for granted to the extent that we complain when we can't find "anything" to wear on Sunday to church, forgetting that many have died (then and now) to give us the freedom to go to church. Ouch! I seriously doubt that any American living in the late 18th century took those things for granted. They had the graves of their fathers, husbands, and brothers to remind them of the cost of their freedom.

And I am mindful of many people in this world, outside of America, who are living with chains around their ankles, literally and figuratively, because they dare to declare that Jesus Christ is the living God, the savior of the world. Ironically, while Christ followers are tortured and murdered for their declarations, the same God that their torturers abhor, paid the ultimate price for their own freedom. He gave His life to reconcile them to himself, to forgive and love them.

Perhaps that is why these Christians are so strong in the face of persecution. They are constantly reminded, with each blow, of the price that was paid on their behalf. They don't have the luxury of taking their faith for granted.

The good news is that this story doesn't end with a dead God, dead Christians and dead freedom fighters. The unfathomable hope of the oppressed Christian rests in the resurrection of the dead, a risen Christ who beat death, allowing the dead in Christ to rise at the trumpet call of God to be with him forever.

How's that for fireworks!


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