By Martin | Tuesday, July 3, 2018 | 7:47 AM
We all know the heartwarming story of how fireworks were invented. Two Baptists were rubbed together in the early 10th century. Ha! Ha! Just kidding! Everyone knows Baptists weren’t invented until the King James Bible was published. Actually, a cook in rural China was toiling in the kitchen and mixed some ingredients together that were better left unacquainted. The ensuing catastrophe was history’s first man-made explosion of sparks, a tradition carried on today by newlywed wives when they cook their first piece of toast. Historians are unsure what the Chinese cook was trying to create, although they knew he would have to eat it again in two hours.
The association of fireworks and Independence Day goes back to the Revolutionary War. American soldiers were on the verge of victory in a battle and began putting down their firearms. “No! No! Bad gun! Bad gun!” “Your mother wears combat boots!” “You’ve got a problem, you’re always loaded!” Cooler heads prevailed and instead of putting them down they began firing them into the air in a celebrative spirit. Years later, while they were passing time at the old soldiers’ home, it dawned on them that the War would have ended much sooner had they actually fired their muskets into the British.
There was another lesson learned through this experience. Encouraged by their wives, it took them about 60 seconds to realize that firing their muskets into the air probably would have gone over better outdoors. For that they became known as “Minutemen,” and firing small arms became a standard celebration for the 4th of July. This continued into the 19th century until a few misguided people in California misunderstood the concept and began firing small legs. Numerous lawsuits followed but were all thrown out of court. They did not have a leg to stand on. Another slight adjustment to the celebration happened in the 1960s when the Hippie culture decided to eliminate the middleman and simply believed fireworks were going off inside their heads.
How do you celebrate your Independence Day? You see, for the lost person Independence Day comes the day he accepts the free gift of God’s grace through Jesus, forever freeing him from the bondage of sin. But what about the Christian? Our Independence Day comes the day we begin to serve God, not because of what we can gain but out of obedience to Him. Christianity does not end with the cross event and the tomb – it begins.
The most appropriate symbol of the New Testament is a towel, symbolic of our Lord washing the feet of the disciples, the perfect picture of servanthhood . . . and freedom. On this day we must ask ourselves if we have a servant’s heart. For if we “have done it unto the least of these, my brethren” (Matthew 25:40 KJV), we have done it unto Jesus.
The tree, then the tomb, then the towel . . . a God-inspired sequence on Independence Day. Celebrate your independence. Serve others, serve God. The cross is gone, the tomb is empty . . . but the towel is waiting.