Happy 4th of July!
This is a day which, for many is the highlight of the summer: bonfires, family, friends, boats, colorful shirts, and fireworks. For others, this day is one of the most sad. Because of this I want to just give a few quick thoughts about today. I understand that today is a Forrest Gump type box of chocolates, so I do not expect to span the full range of emotions people experience today.
- Freedom is not free. In order for Independence Day to occur, lives were lost, relationships broken, and economic instability occurred. It was not easy for the founding fathers to declare independence and consequently war on England. So often we glibly speak of Independence Day and freedom without recognizing that lives were lost. For those with family members and close friends in the armed forced currently, this still rings true. Be sure to take a sober moment (in both ways!) today and recognize that freedom was not free, and freedom still is not free. Sometimes it is costly, and we need to humbly accept this, as well as humbly do our part to let freedom be available.
- Not everyone is experiencing freedom. Our country’s history is tainted with economic, social, religious, and racial division. Freedoms have been used to tear down others. As a pastor this make sme mourn. I know that the freedom I have in Christ beckons me to love others. Freedom means that my hands are freed to care for others, rather than stop up my hears from their cries. Freedom, as mentioned above makes me realize I am in no position of merit, but rather a recipient of someone else’s labor (and loss). Take time today to soberly (in both ways!) examine whether or not you are aiding, or hindering others from experiencing freedom. Freedom from oppression, sin, bigotry, addiction, poverty, or slavery (yes, look up the sex trafficking causes and statistics). Not everyone experiences freedom today, do your part to make sure you are not the cause of that.
- Be safe. I love fire. I love fireworks. Explosions are cool. It is also fun to jump off tall docks, or rocks, into lakes, rivers, and ponds. But please be smart. If you have consumed any liquid courage than please let someone else play with the fire. If you are around those consuming alcohol, do not let them drive or go swimming at dark. The last thing you want do do is cause the 4th of July to be a day where you remember a friend or family member dying because you did not stop them from being an idiot. You might have to give up your “freedom” to have as much fun in order to save a life. Freedom ain’t free, but life is invaluable.
Pastor Ben Murray