Across the country many will be celebrating the fourth of July with food, fellowship, baseball, apple pie and all things American. This week we celebrate the independence of our great nation, a nation in which we understand that all are created equal. Fundamental to our independence is our recognition of community; securing the freedom to gather, freedom to carry each other, freedom to welcome those who are different, freedom to worship, freedom to live an abundant life. The Apostle Paul says in Galatians that there is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; that we are all one in Christ. This does not mean we are all the same. We are all beautifully different! This means that there is no longer a dividing wall between our differences.
Well, according to Christ there is no longer a dividing wall between us. Unfortunately, because of our brokenness as human beings, we still build walls to keep out the unfamiliar or the seemingly dangerous. We build walls to feel safe when the world offers experiences outside our circle of comfort. Freedom isn’t free, nor is it “safe.” When we as a society proclaim that all are created equal, a dance ensues. It is the provocative and beautiful dance of where my rights end and yours begin. It’s a dance in which sometimes I lead and sometimes you lead. It’s a dance in which we are invited to get on our feet and move, regardless if the music is Southern Rock or Salsa, R&B or Baroque. The point is that we dance together on the dance floor our founders built for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Not everyone was welcome of the floor when it was first built, but I pray that as our nation continues to grow and mature that the guest list continues to grow.
Let us give thanks for the freedom we enjoy by being united in love to each other. Independence is the freedom to be a servant of God and each other.