Summary: Here’s a sermon to preach before or on the 4th of July.
I’ll Be True To The Red, White & Blue
13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.
14 Let all that you do be done with love.
Wednesday is the 4th of July.
It’s the day we celebrate the day America became a free nation.
In 1776, Thomas Paine stirred the land with these words:
"These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands now deserves the love and thanks of man and women. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheep, we esteem too lightly; "tis dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price on its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as Freedom should not be highly rated."
I want to begin by telling you a true story:
Samuel Griscom and his wife, Rebecca, were Quakers. They had 7 children and then on January 1, 1752, a baby girl they named Elizabeth, was born. When she was old enough, Elizabeth went to a Quaker public school. After completing her schooling, Elizabeth’s father apprenticed her to a local upholsterer. There she fell in love with another apprentice, John, who was the son of an Episcopal assistant rector. Quakers frowned on inter-denominational marriages. The penalty for such unions was being cut off from both family and church members.
On a November night in 1773, 21-year-old Elizabeth eloped with John. Her wedding caused an irrevocable split from her family. Less than two years after their marriage, the couple started their own upholstery business.
In January 1776, the city of Philadelphia was fractured in its loyalties. Many still felt themselves citizens of Britain. Others were ardent revolutionaries heeding a call to arms.
Elizabeth and John keenly felt the impact of the war. Fabrics needed for business were becoming hard to come by. Business was slow. John joined the Pennsylvania militia. While guarding an ammunition cache in mid-January 1776, John was mortally wounded in an explosion. Though his young wife tried to nurse him back to health he died.
Elizabeth was now a widow struggling to run her own upholstery business. Upholsterers in colonial America did all manner of sewing work. In May of 1776, a secret committee from the Continental Congress came to Elizabeth’s house. They handed Elizabeth a rough sketch of something they wanted Elizabeth to create for them, a production that would be carried into battle and displayed for years to come. Elizabeth didn’t like the design they gave, but they liked the redesign she gave them.
Elizabeth would often tell her children, grandchildren, relatives, and friends of the fateful day when three members of a secret committee from the Continental Congress came to call upon her. Those representatives, George Washington, Robert Morris, and George Ross, asked her to sew the first American flag.