‘Without vision, the people perish’
July 4, 2023
The term “the road to war” is defined as the long and complicated process where various factors, actions and decisions lead to an outcome. This term can be applied to the events leading up to our own nation’s decision to fight for independence. On this “road to war,” two divergent visions of rights, freedom, governance, control and status clashed: the American vision and the British vision. And it was not until 1783, nearly eight years after the events in 1775 at Lexington and Concord, that a peace treaty would be signed in Paris.
The future during those eight years was not always clear. It took leadership and perseverance to succeed through the long dark years of war, because the outcome of freedom from British rule came at a heavy cost. An estimated 49,000 people died on both sides of the conflict from combat and disease. As differing visions took sides, homes were lost, communities became divided, neighbor turned against neighbor, and families on both sides were forever changed by the loss of loved ones. Without vision, the dream of freedom would have perished.
Dwight D. Eisenhower once stated: “Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of people, and so it must be daily earned and refreshed — else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.”
The church is called to bring good news to the people. It is called to bring freedom. Freedom comes in many forms, and it can holistically encompass the religious, physical, emotional and mental aspects of a person’s life or of a whole community. It seeks to ensure human dignity and bring compassion wherever its message of God’s love and acceptance can be heard. And the road it must journey can be long, arduous, and uncertain. It takes leadership and perseverance. And it will come at a cost.
On July Fourth, give thanks to those who walk the many long roads now and throughout our nation’s history and for the sacrifices made along the way. Celebrate independence and freedom with a prayerful spirit of thankfulness for those whose vision saw a better future.
The Rev. Dennis Hysom is the Executive Director of the Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincies and a retired Army Chaplain.
Today’s Focus: Fourth of July
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Magdy Girgis, Middle Eastern Intercultural Ministries, Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Tammy Gish, Treasurer, Controllers, Presbyterian Foundation
Let us pray
Lord, as our Savior loved us enough to sacrifice his life for us, may we love others enough to sacrifice for them. We lift to you our Veteran’s Affairs, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and military chaplains serving far and abroad, asking you to guide them in their daily giving for you. Amen.