Story of the Day for Tuesday July 17, 2012
If you suffer as a Christian, don’t be ashamed but give praise to God that you bear that name.
1 Peter 4:16
In 1755, Richard Schuckberg, a British army doctor, wrote a song mocking Americans. “Yankee” was a derisive term for Americans, and “doodle,” a derogatory word, meaning a “dolt” or “simpleton.”
The fashionable wig in the 1770s was called a “macaroni,” and the term became synonymous for high fashion.
The sheet music to the song noted, “The Words to be Sung through the Nose, & in the West Country drawl & dialect.” So, Shuckberg’s song began:
Yankee Doodle went to town,
Riding on a pony;
He stuck a feather in his hat,
And called it macaroni.
The first skirmish of the Revolutionary War began on April 19, 1775. At Lexington, British General Hugh Percy’s fifers played “Yankee Doodle” to express their contempt for the backwards American militia.
Have you ever been treated with contempt because you’re a Christian? It doesn’t feel good, does it? Sometimes it hurts so much that you may conclude it’s just easier not to let others know of your loyalty to Christ.
But, do we really want to spend our days shrinking from mockery by slinking around with our tail between our legs? The Bible is encouraging us to take the opposite approach: to embrace our identity and praise God for the honor of bearing the name of Christ. The apostle Peter is not pontificating from an ivory tower – he has been flogged for the name of Jesus. He’s been imprisoned, and, ultimately, he was martyred for the Name. But he reacted to his sufferings with joy.
The British were surrounded at Yorktown in 1781 and forced to surrender. In order to lay down their firearms in a meadow, the British soldiers marched down the Williamsburg Road, with Americans standing on one side, and their allies, the French, lining the other.
And then the song began. The French fife and drums began playing “Yankee Doodle” – to the utter delight of the American troops.
Yankee Doodle had been transformed from a mocking song of contempt to a joyful expression of national pride. It became our nation’s birthsong. And no American hangs his head to sing it.