Every summer, we celebrate our national freedom with joy; it is the high point of the season for Americans. As Christians, we also recall the personal and spiritual freedom won for us on the cross by our Lord Jesus Christ. His earthly ministry and loving sacrifice on the cross are the greatest gifts any of us has ever received. These gifts are free to us because Jesus himself paid the price, gracing us with his spirit. We read of his love in the scriptures and are uplifted: “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (II Corinthians 3:17)
This July Fourth, as we sing of freedoms cherished and thrill at the sight of brilliant displays of fireworks against the night sky, let us raise our voices in thanksgiving to our Lord. As we watch the wonder on the faces of children and adults alike, let us feel a renewal in our patriotism and our faith. Jesus did not leave us on the battlefield, nor did he sleep while we debated and voted and came together as a nation. As different as we are as individuals, we are collectively a country. In this time of economic and social struggle, may we remember our brotherhood over the things that divide us – and may our faith shine as the stars on Old Glory. Long may she wave!
Scripture is filled with references to the immense spiritual freedom given to us by the sacrifice and love of our Lord. One of my favorites is from the Gospel according to John in chapter 8. This scripture is a rich statement of the grace of the eternal truth of God's everlasting love. How blessed we are to know this truth, to have this faith on which to rely. This is our focus, even as we celebrate the beautiful gifts of the liberty we enjoy as Americans. As we remember our blessings, let us rejoice in our faith and praise God for his grace and love.
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave[b] to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.