Tag Archives: Great Britain

Independence Day in the USA – Celebrating the 4th of July and Remembering that Freedom is Not Free

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“America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” – Alexis de Tocqueville*

July 4th each year marks a huge celebration in the US – a federal holiday with all the trimmings of a perfect summer day. Cookouts, baseball games, flags flying, parades, friends and family, fireworks, backyard fun. If you are new to the USA, these are the elements of this holiday that you will enjoy hopefully through the glad welcome by American friends.Blog - 4th of July 5 (2)

There is much more to this holiday, but we’ll start with the familiar through these pictures from some of our 4th of July celebrations:

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 Like Memorial Day, our Independence Day, has a more somber side to it. The War of the American Revolution was fought, at great cost, from 1775 to 1783. 13 colonies stood up against Great Britain to win their independence. Our Declaration of Independence wasn’t actually signed on July 4th. It, in fact, was signed over the course of many days, as different representatives of those 13 colonies attended to its signing during that late summer in 1776. Then the revolution followed in full. Blog - 4th of July 10Blog - 4th of July 9Blog - 4th of July 13

I am so grateful to be a part of this country and to enjoy the freedoms we have as Americans. I never want to take them for granted. This is another July 4th to mark what happened to secure the freedoms we have. Happy 239th birthday, America. May we determine to use the blessings God has given us here to always be a blessing to the nations.Blog - Preamble of US Constitution - 4th of July

Photo Credit: Humboldt.edu

Postscript: Facebook status of an American friend of ours spending July 4th in England:

“Wondering how one celebrates July 4th in the land we got our independence from…” [and then later] “Nothing like fish ‘n’ chips in front of Wimbledon on a Friday night in Oxford with English friends on July 4th weekend ;))… people, ya gotta love life wherever you find yourself ’cause there are always sweet surprises there.”

*Quotes for Independence Day, 4th of July 

YouTube Video – Flag Scene from The Patriot (2000, Mel Gibson)

5 Facts About Independence Day by Joe Carter, Acton Institute

Top 10 Revolutionary War Movies

YouTube Video – John Adams – “While I live, let me have a country, a free country!” (2008, HBO miniseries)

YouTube Video – John Adams – The Passing of the Declaration of Independence (2008, HBO miniseries)

American Declaration of Independence of July 4th, 1776 by Robert Hole for History Today

Happy Birthday, (New) America

9 Things You May Not Know About the Declaration of Independence

The Story of the 4th of July

The History of the 4th of July

Declaration of Independence – pdf

YouTube Video – Tea, Taxes, and The American Revolution: Crash Course World History #28Blog - 4th of July 5

Worship Wednesday – Chris Tomlin’s Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)

Blog - Music inspired by the film Amazing GraceAmazing Grace is probably the most well-known Christian hymn of all time. The lyrics are powerful, written by John Newton, an 18th century slave trader, who had a riveting experience with God that changed his life forever. Amazing Grace is a deeply personal confession which we who are followers of Christ also share with Newton. Chris Tomlin’s cover (on his 2006 album See the Morning) is an updated version of the hymn which honors the melody we all love. He also includes a last verse that Newton wrote that was omitted in previous versions. This version is also a part of the soundtrack of the film Amazing Grace.

This film (2006, Michael Apted, Director) is high on my all-time-favorite-film list. For those of you who missed it, for whatever reasons, consider watching it now. It is beautifully filmed with great performances and magnificent sound. Amazing Grace is a biopic on the life of William Wilberforce, a member of the 18th century British parliament, who fought for the abolition of the slave trade. With John Newton as his mentor and pastor, Wilberforce was personally tormented by the reality of slavery. He battled, fearlessly and tenaciously, for over 20 years in Parliament, and, before his death, saw the passage of law abolishing slavery in Great Britain.

This film shows the story of how one person can affect great change. One person. It’s very reflective of how One brought us out of slavery through His life, death, and resurrection.  Amazing Grace.

There’s the phenomenal true-life subplot in the film, as well – the friendship and shared faith and passion of William Wilberforce and John Newton.  Newton spurred Wilberforce on, encouraging him that he could do more through his political life than if he became a member of clergy. There’s a lesson here for all of us as well – that whatever our work or calling, we are meant to infuse it with the great grace and purpose God has given each one of us.

Worship with me today through this lovely hymn. Consider renting Amazing Grace to watch with your family or friends (who somehow missed it the first time around).

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, who called me here below
Will be forever mine
Will be forever mine.

What’s your favorite version of Amazing Grace? Youtube or other? Share it with us in the Comments.

YouTube video of Chris Tomlin’s Amazing Grace with clips from film

Brief & thrilling summary of the life of John Newton who wrote the hymn Amazing Grace

Film Clip from the Film Amazing Grace – 2006 drama of political & spiritual life of William Wilberforce and his battle against slavery

Music Inspired by the Film Amazing Grace

Film Amazing Grace

Chris Tomlin Website

Youtube Amazing Grace (Chris Tomlin) with Lyrics

Amazing Grace Lyrics