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FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH IN DOWNTOWN WILMINGTON NC
  • Writer's pictureDr. Jim Baldwin

HD Homilies – Celebrate

Statue of Liberty at night with fireworks going off all around it.

Today is the Fourth of July – Independence Day in the USA.  There will be multiple celebrations around the nation today.  Indeed, some communities have been celebrating all week.  It could be argued that no local town celebrates Independence Day better than the town of Southport.  Their Fourth of July activities include a parade, musical concerts, fireworks and military aircraft flyovers.


My favorite part of the Southport celebration, however, is the Naturalization Ceremony conducted on a grassy lawn overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.  This year the ceremony features the 440th Army Band, a group of local singers and several guest speakers.  The centerpiece of the ceremony will be the swearing in of 125 new American citizens. 


I love the naturalization ceremony because it reminds us of what America is about.  When I was in the fifth grade, our class was required to memorize the inscription on the base of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” 


These words remind me of what the prophet Moses said to the nation of Israel: “Any immigrant who lives with you must be treated as if they were one of your citizens.  You must love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt.” (Leviticus19:34) 


Jesus made it clear that our primary responsibility as citizens of heaven is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all our soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)


Loving others is the best way to celebrate!



-Dr. Jim Baldwin


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