Native American pastor Jeff Yellow Owl shares a helpful perspective for the Fourth of July. He recalls attending a church service on July 4 and the pastor spoke about “the great sacrifice of the forefathers who established this country.”
“I was so angry,” Jeff admits. “I felt like a cold knife was plunged through my heart. All I could think of was, what about my forefathers and the blood of my people that has been spilled on this land?”
That’s a sentiment I’ve often felt as church worship strays from Creator to country. The freedom we have in America is worth celebrating, but it becomes dangerous when we whitewash our history in a red, white and blue frenzy. It becomes too easy to swell with pride and forget our failures. That kind of blind celebration becomes a slap in the face to those who endured injustice. As we celebrate our freedom we should remember our failures and steal ourselves to correct current and future failures.
The Fourth of July isn’t just an excuse to blow stuff up. It’s a chance to celebrate and move forward, towards a more perfect Union.
Jeff Yellow Owl eventually found the strength to do just that:
But forgiving the past was “a process and didn’t happen all at once,” he says. “That kind of forgiveness has to be supernatural.” …
He prayed: “I want to be healed from my anger. I don’t want this feeling in my heart anymore.”