40 years ago, there was a little house on Michael Street in Kalamazoo, MI. It had a small victory garden in the backyard with a little kohlrabi, corn, tomatoes and carrots where a small boy and an even smaller puppy feasted and rolled in the dirt. The Music Man played on TV and the Wells Fargo Wagon rolled into town. Later, sparklers and fireworks lit the sky and filled their heads with wonder. Shivering puppy cuddled in my lap with one excited boy, a prefect night was had by all.
“This is the land of milk and honey
This is the land of sun and song…”
Fireworks have always been magical for me. Growing up in the 50’s, my small town always had a display in the park by the river. The firemen and police always busy as we watched them set the display up and rope off the area. A few years later, our family sometimes went to a nearby big city to enjoy a “show”. It was different. It was fun – especially since I always had a cousin or friend tagging along. But those were never as special as the one in the hometown where all the friends gathered and ran around with sparklers in the dark away from the parents.
“And this a world of good and plenty
Humble and proud and young and strong…”
Fireworks are still magical. Tonight, I stood on my little front porch and watched a small display. Near-by neighbors gathered to have a ringside seat while others drove their tractors or gators up to our cul-de-sac to watch. A throwback to simpler times. And somehow in my mind, this beat all the fancy shows linked with musical scores that seem to dominate the urban areas and our TV’s.
A reminder of what was…
And what could still be.
“And this is the place where the hopes of the homeless
And the dreams of the lost combine…”
The ideals of 1776 are still the covenant of this country. A covenant that was made by the Pilgrims on a small rocky part of ground that no native tribe wanted to inhabit. Outcasts themselves, the Pilgrims prayed over this new land, and a humble covenant was established. A covenant made by imperfect men who believed in what they wrote, but knew they were all flawed, save the One they held close in their hearts. They didn’t know what would happen as they prayed over this new covenant, but they had faith that had brought them this far so they bowed their heads to seek their Father’s blessings on this new beginning.
“This is the land that Heaven blessed
And this lovely land is mine…”
The covenant thus blessed, prospered over them all. Crops grew. Friendships established. New people came.
Some prayed. Some didn’t. The covenant shook under their feet. Until a shot rang out that was heard round the world. Then many gathered once again. They argued – debated – wrote – rewrote and prayed together. A new covenant that reaffirmed the first. A covenant that foresaw a day when its people would be able to celebrate the birth of a nation with fireworks . Sacred honor..
Humble and proud…
Young and strong…
Over the years the covenant remained. Torn and tattered in places. Singed in other places. Words smudged and forgotten by those who asked for the blessing of the covenant in the first place. But then – after 244 years – there is little wonder since – as the Pilgrims knew – people are all flawed save the One who granted the covenant with His promise and blessings.
The line between “humble” and “proud” is hairline. Recognizing, “blessed is the poor in spirit, the meek, the pure of heart, the peacemaker” gets harder and harder for those who love the strength in the explosion of bright lights and sounds over their heads. The covenanted soul loses a little more of the original ink into the dust from which it arose. While the outer shell appears strong and impenetrable, the inner “young” and “strong” has become “wobbly” and “weak” spiritually, and the covenant closer to dissolving completely.
The Father’s warnings shake the idols. They rattle the country a little more each time they come. His prophets, as always, have returned to speak loudly. He wants to remind His children. He wants the covenant to stand forever. He strains to hear the ones He loves the best call out to Him again. He longs for the closeness of the Pilgrims, the Founding Fathers, the outcasts, the lost, and all those who seek His presence in the fireworks of 2020.
The unrest remains as does the choice: Be ye humble? Be ye proud? Fireworks over head or a covenant of blessings that “lights up the world”?
“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,
I wait for God my Savior;
my God will hear me.” Micah 7:7