Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

July 3, 2005


Celebrating the freedom we enjoy as Americans


          Wars stain the pages of all recorded history. The human race has never found a way to live in peace. Twice America has fought in “the war to end all wars,” but wars continue to the present hour.

          The issue in most wars has been land. Japan is a good example. The Japanese felt they needed to expand their territory. Germany is another example; Hitler wanted to rule the world, not just his homeland.

          When one nation attempts to conquer another, people rise up in anger to protect their freedom. Some wars last for years, resulting in unbelievable bloodshed. Most people feel their freedom is precious and worth dying for if necessary.

          People with power and money have always wanted servants or slaves. We all know the sad story of slavery in America. That story illustrates the truth that slavery has never been popular among the slaves. The Jews hated their enslavement to the Egyptians and later to the Babylonians. Slavery in America was insufferable to the blacks who were shipped over like cattle from Africa.

          Sooner or later oppressed people will rebel against their oppressors. The simple truth is that people have an innate desire to be free. People of my persuasion believe that inherent desire for freedom springs from the fact that all people are created in the image of God. Our Maker has planted within the human heart the longing for self-determination, or to put it more simply, liberty.

          When Jesus announced to a stunned synagogue crowd his mission in life, he said he had come to proclaim freedom for captives. He spoke to Jews who longed to be free of the harsh heel of the Roman Empire.

          Across the centuries men and women have fought and died for freedom. In the 14th Century William Wallace of Scotland fought against injustice and died trying to free his people from the English tyrants. Who can ever forget the breathtaking moment when Wallace (Mel Gibson in Braveheart) raised his sword and screamed the word “Freedom!”? Wallace’s fellow patriots went on after Wallace’s death to win Scottish freedom, but at the cost of thousands of lives.

          In churches today across the land the men and women who fought and died for our country will be remembered in prayer. Prayers will be offered for our troops who are now in harm’s way. These brave men and women deserve our support and prayers regardless of our position on the war in Iraq.

          Like many Americans I have relatives and friends serving in the military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. I want our troops to come home as soon as possible. I have questions about the war in Iraq. However, I continue to support, believe in, and pray for President Bush. I believe he speaks the truth when he says we are engaged in a global war against terrorists who want to destroy, and eventually control, our land.

The conflict in which we are engaged is much bigger than most people imagine. As the most powerful nation in the world, America cannot turn a deaf ear to the millions of oppressed people in the world who long to experience the freedoms we enjoy in the United States. We stand to lose our own freedom if we become unwilling to help other nations defend their own freedom.

In our church today we will sing songs about freedom, songs like “God Bless America,” “America the Beautiful,” and “Proud to be an American.” We will sing with gratitude to God about our “sweet land of liberty,” the land precious to us because it is the “land where our fathers died.”

We will sing a prayer to God, pleading for his help with this sincere request:  “long may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light; protect us by thy might, great God, our King.” Surely it is true that no nation can long enjoy freedom without the help of almighty God.

So with fireworks, picnics, watermelons, concerts, and prayers, we who have been so generously blessed by God shall celebrate gladly the freedom we enjoy as Americans. + + + +