Friday, January 31, 2014

" Fourth of July " by Laura Ingalls Wilder


My most memorable chapter of the Little House series comes from Little Town on the Prairie: " Fourth of July."  

Pa, Laura, and Carrie walked a mile to town for the July Fourth celebrations, which involved standing under the American flag and listening to someone patriotically recount the Revolutionary War and then recite the entire Declaration of Independence, which Laura and Carrie knew by heart.

Afterward, Pa started to sing,

My country, 'tis of thee, 
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing...

Long may our land be bright
With Freedom's holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King!

As the crowd dispersed to the horse races, Laura was frozen in contemplation:
The Declaration and the song came together in her mind, and she thought: God is America's king.
She thought: Americans won't obey any king on earth.  Americans are free.  That means they have to obey their own consciences.  No king bosses Pa; he has to boss himself.  Why (she thought), when I am a little older, Pa and Ma will stop telling me what to do, and there isn't anyone else who has the right to give me orders.  I will have to make myself be good.
Her whole mind seemed to be lighted up by that thought.  This is what it means to be free.  It means, you have to be good.  "Our father's God, author of liberty-" The laws of Nature and of Nature's God endow you with a right to life and liberty.  Then you have to keep the laws of God, for God's law is the only thing that gives you a right to be free.
I love this so much because it is what makes being American so different from other countries; pioneers knew this better than anyone because they truly lived free and independent.  They had to be their own masters, which is essential for making good citizens and good government.

In other words, if a free and independent man was not good, he would fail, and he knew the consequences.  It was a matter of survival, and it was imperative that he did well.   In turn, good citizens desire good government to protect their property and that which they have worked so hard for.


In addition, a nation whose King is Jesus and whose citizens are accountable to Him will prosper and thrive and remain free because they know their rights are from God and not man or government.  But a nation whose king is man and chooses instead to be burdened by man's laws, is not free.

Then I think about how America has done a 180 and how we are not like the America of 1880, and it makes my heart heavy.  Maybe there is hope that we can get those ideas back, but nothing is going to change so long as we reject Jesus as our King, both personally and as a whole nation.

4 comments:

Melissa said...

That is beautiful Ruth, thanks for sharing. Looks like you are having a great school year.

Ruth said...

Hi, Melissa! Good to hear from you. Thanks for your comment. We are really enjoying the Little House series. It is really great literature.

Angelic Scalliwags said...

I always wonder how we could have moved so far away from our foundations (and I'm British) but really the same has happened over here. But unlike in the past, there is a real lethargy in our country, with no body wanting to stand up and make the change.
Lovely post.

Ruth said...

Angelic, Yes, it is sad what is happening to our countries. People are becoming very lethargic about everything. But we, as moms, have the responsibility to train them up in righteousness and do what we can.