In my American Southern Baptist circles, it is common to do patriotic musicals in the place of the morning worship service. I have concerns on several levels about doing this and for the first several years in my church, I received a great bit of grief for not doing them. Do not misunderstand.
I love my country and am very grateful for all those who fought and continue to fight that allow us to have the freedoms we celebrate. Yet, I am not a fan of taking the weekly public gathering of the church that is to be focused on the glory of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ, and make it about anything else, regardless the holiday.
However, I do believe there are some things we can do in our worship services that celebrate the freedoms we have in this country, but take a more gospel focus in doing so. Here are 3 we have done in our church that I feel accomplish this:
1) Pray for the persecuted church. We do this regularly in our morning service. One way to celebrate the freedoms God has given us is to pray for those who are suffering in other closed countries who do not. It is a great excuse to do what we should be doing regularly, and it reminds us who live in a country where we are not at risk to gather as Christians, that Christ still calls us to the same faithful sacrifice of our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.
2) Pray for military and our government leaders. We should be reminded of those who serve us now to maintain our freedoms and that God’s will be done with them. We need to pray for our leaders to rule justly as well as pray for our upcoming election that has massive implications for our future.
3) Invite an Englishman to preach. A couple of years ago, my dear friend Jeremy Walker preached at a our church on July 4 while in the States from England. While churches all around us were performing massive musicals to celebrate our freedom, I invited one of our former “oppressors” to powerfully preach the gospel…which he did! It was a great encouraging day with my brother and was a wonderful reminder to our people of how the gospel unites us. In God’s kind providence, Jeremy is in the US and preaching at our church this Sunday.
Our freedom in this country is a gift. Celebrate it and encourage your people to celebrate it. Feel free to have a program or musical about it at your church. Just make sure the regular corporate gathering of the church remains focused on the gospel of our Lord Jesus and the worship of God.