Amidst the parades and the fireworks and the barbecues, Independence Day gives us the change to reflect on the great men and women of the Revolutionary War – and all the men and women who strove and sacrificed to bring this nation into being. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on all the great men and women who followed, who dedicated their lives to continuing the original dream of what this nation can be.

People of faith have played a crucial role in advancing that dream. From the Pilgrims, who came searching for a place of religious tolerance, through the Christians of every generation who have sought justice, mercy, and equality for all citizens, God’s people have made a difference. And at a point where the forces of fear and intolerance are dangerously active throughout the world, the efforts of believers are desperately needed: The voice of God’s love for all His children must be heard, clearly and powerfully.

As free citizens of this mighty nation, and as the heirs to the mightiest of all Kingdoms, we can celebrate our freedom best by securing that freedom for others so they can share its blessings. By reaching out to others in love and respect, we battle the forces of discrimination and fear. By sharing the good news of God’s unconditional love, we drive out evil and make space for joy and hope. By recognizing that we are all God’s children, we embrace equality.

We stand for the red, white, and blue, but we stand on the Word of God. Let us live so our freedoms, legal and spiritual, shine through us, offering solace and encouragement to all. May we lead those in need to the comfort and protection of true freedom, forever.

“Our fathers' God to Thee, Author of liberty, To Thee we sing. Long may our land be bright, With freedom's holy light, Protect us by Thy might, Great God our King.” Samuel Francis Smith, 1831