One of the things I enjoy about American holidays is the unity you see inÂ grocery stores all across America. It’s the fourth of July! Everyone (virtually) is going to throw some burgers and/or hot dogs on the grill (or maybe down south they fry up some chicken). Everyone is going to make ice cream. It’s just impossible to do anything else. I know this is true because yesterday when I dashed into the grocery store, they were out of rock salt, and the sugar aisle looked as though it had been looted. I love this about America. The end of November we all buy our turkeys and dressing, but on the Fourth, we are cooking corn on the cob and slicing up the watermelon.Â I’m not really sure who planned the menuÂ or who passed the word around to us all, but we got it. This menu is one of the cultural lessons we faithfully teach our children and our children’s children. And though it is a good lesson (who could complain about a hamburger?), it is notÂ promise-rich like the spiritual heritage we are passing on to the next generation.Â
We teach our children how to live like Christians in much the same way that we teach them how toÂ celebrate July 4th, one year at a time. But we have a weekly opportunity to show them how to celebrate, which gives us lots more practice (and we need it). This repetition is not soÂ our childrenÂ will be mindless participants in sabbath dinner or (far worse) worship, but so they will be really good at it. It’s funny that no one worries that we might celebrate the Fourth mindlessly, but I’m pretty sure most of us do.Â Â We’ve got the liturgy down: picnic with all the trimmings, flag-waving, and fireworks. Our spiritual heritage is far richer, greater, wider, and more encompassing than a once-a-year party. As we celebrate the Lord’s Day week to week, year after year, we are teaching our children how to worship the Lord faithfully, so they can teach their children, and their children’s children. This is how God made us. And it is apparent to me on holidays like the Fourth, that Americans love liturgy andÂ love to celebrate, especiallyÂ when they know what is expected. So while you are cranking out the ice cream today,Â thank God for a great tradition on the Fourth. And keep cranking out the weekly sabbath celebrations. It is faithful teaching.