Written on July 3, 2018:
Today is July 3rd. I sit on the shaded back porch of our Ossipee home. I look out into the afternoon sun and shade of the beautiful New Hampshire forest that surrounds our house. The porch was lovingly built two decades ago, by a true New England craftsman, our friend. He labored, probably unconsciously, under a Puritan work ethic that lives on in this northeast corner of our country.
Tomorrow is "The Fourth," our national day of remembrance and celebration of the freedom we gained from the oppression of the British Crown through our War of Independence in those years around 1775.
There will be fireworks along the shore this night, and our Tamsie will ring wildly the big bell outside the second floor window, still there, since the growing years of the Rouner children.
It was John Adams, second president of our new Republic, who declared that this day of our independence should be celebrated by the loud firing of guns and ringing of bells.
Molly has given me a thick historical biography to read called, "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life," by Walter Isaacson. I am fascinated by the detailed account of the dozen or so generations of his ancestors who, it turns out, were part of the great Puritan migration that left their middle class life and trades to begin again in the New World beginning in 1630.
It is a fascinating story to see these not at all wealthy tradesmen and shopkeepers leave everything behind to make a new start in "the new world."
There was a certain work ethic to be sure. But, there was a faith that cared for community, and for public and private morality that they saw as the stuff of common life together, in any new country that was to be built in a new, and possibly hostile land, on the other side of the world.
They came with a vision of something God would do with them in this new place.
What is surprising is how much their descendant, the brilliant inventor, tradesman, and humorist Ben Franklin shared in those high ideals, and this sense of what the new country was to be.
He, who is often thought of today as a bespectacled, perhaps iconoclastic humorist, full of wise sayings, and new ideas, was one who also saw for this new land a unique place among all nations. And, it was a place faith gave it.
In these days of dark tension, and anger with those who differ from us, and sense of a divided nation, we who bear the insights and ethos of faith, tend to think we are lost, and left on the outside of all the political, social, and government's deciding groups who are shouting down all others in the debate about who, and whither, America.
Not so. We are of that same stream of thought and passionate faith of many of our "founding fathers." Their Puritan vision is ours as well. And, we are called to tell it, and declare it, and passionately persuade our fellow Americans that this "Way" is for all of us. And, for the good of the world.
July 4th is a day for all of us who walk in Jesus' way to be brave about who we are, and who and what America is called to be.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES