Patriot - Monday Musing, April 18, 2022
Patriot. A person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against all enemies is said to be a patriot. Our country was founded on principles of patriotism, freedom, and justice, so it comes as no surprise that there is a day set aside to honor patriots. Today is Patriots’ Day, which is celebrated in Massachusetts, Maine, Wisconsin, and Connecticut. (Only MA and ME observe it as an official/paid holiday).
In 1894, Massachusetts established Patriots’ Day as a holiday to honor the Battles of Lexington and Concord that sparked the American Revolutionary War. History tells us that the British made plans to seize a stash of ammunition stored in Lexington, but the plan was discovered, and Paul Revere made his “immortal” ride to warn of the dastardly plot. “Minute Men” sprang into action to oppose the British soldiers marching down the road. There was a standoff that resulted in the mysterious “shot heard round the world” (no one knows who fired first), and thus the American Revolution began.
While the holiday was created to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of liberty, Patriots’ Day is basically a day-off work and school (this year it is school vacation week for some). But in the towns of Lexington and Concord, reenactments of the battles fought there long ago are held every year. Those who come to see the reenactments also can ring the bell that warned the British were coming, attend seminars, concerts, races, and other special events. Boston celebrates the day by hosting their well-known annual marathon and a parade.
Patriots are revered, but the holiday has not caught on across the country. Has this become an outdated holiday that no one really knows why it is celebrated? Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:12-13). The original patriots laid down their lives for the freedoms that you and I enjoy today. In yesterday’s message I said that Easter is a pause point – or tipping point – defined as the point where a minor change turns into a major one and is irreversible. The course of our country’s history was changed by the American Revolution. Had it not been for loyal patriots, our lives could have turned out much differently.
So whether you find yourself today traveling to Lexington/Concord to observe the planned festivities, in Boston to watch the marathon and parade, or simply staying at home to enjoy the spring weather, take a moment to remember the patriots in our history. And perhaps consider how we are patriots of our faith. In her poem, “Sometimes,” Mary Oliver writes: “Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” Who will defend and tell of our faith if not patriots like us? See you in church!