In this last installment of his sermon, Rev. Atwood shares some more personal thoughts and an appeal.
by Rev. Nate Atwood
And so I sit, in my driveway, hymnal in hand, meditating on the words of the past hymns, “My Country ’tis of Thee,” and thus upon the thoughts of those who had a much higher vision for America than I hold—“Our father’s God to Thee, Author of liberty, to Thee we sing; long may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light; protect us by Thy might, Great God our King.” I open my Bible and drink in the Scriptural truth recorded by Moses, “I am the Lord thy God that
brought thee out of the land of slavery. . . .” “Proclaim liberty throughout the land and to all the inhabitants thereof. . . .” Yes, it is God who gave us liberty.
And as I think on these things I watch my two-year-old son playing in our backyard, this blond-haired little boy wandering from swing set to flower bed . . . in his own way rejoicing in the gifts of God. He is happy. He is safe. He is free. May God grant that he will continue to grow up in a nation of liberty wherein he will have the privilege of pursuing the dreams God has for His life. May he live in the dignity which only freedom can fully afford and which cost our founding fathers and their families so very much.
As I sit, and meditate, and watch my son, it seems my sanctified imagination gets swept away, and in this holy moment I sense a peculiar variation of the “cloud of witnesses” round about me. I imagine–and it is only inspired imagination—General Washington, President Adams, and Patrick Henry standing around my chair, their hand upon my shoulder, their gaze also fixed upon little Noah. I see them in my mind’s eye smiling at this blond boy’s freedom, safety, promise, and pleasure at swings and slides and flowers.
I can almost hear their voices, softly saying, “This is what we did it for . . . so that you could raise your son in the dignity, potential, and joy which freedom affords. We delight with you, young citizen. Our sacrifices were well worth it. Now, raise him to the Light and introduce him to the Author of Freedom. And in that introduction make sure that he knows the sacred story of this nation as well as the history of Israel. Teach him to think Biblically. Yes, make him a student of history.”
Reverend Nate Atwood has been in the ministry for sixteen years as an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church. He has been Senior Pastor at Kempsville Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia, since Palm Sunday, 1999.