I’m writing this blog as our nation prepares for one the most visibly and loudest celebrated US holidays: Independence Day. I’m reminded constantly with every flash and boom of a high flying artillery shell and fast popping noise of a string of firecrackers lit by a boy or girl dressed in red, white, and blue that the noise and show we make are meant to remind us of the cost of freedom. Truly, this is one my personal favorite days to celebrate. It’s a time where communities are united and people love more freely in the celebrations of this season.
However, the display could seem rather macabre. Guns, cannons, the flash of a muzzle aimed at an enemy, and loss of life aren’t something we typically think should be celebrated or replicated for entertainment. However, when in appropriate context and understanding of the sacrifice we can sit back, enjoy the show, and be reminded that for every free choice we are allowed to make it cost someone dearly. This day is about remembering, just as much, if not more than families and BBQ.
I applaud the men and women who have given all to keep us free. Even on the day we celebrate our freedom there are men and women who aren’t celebrating but serving so that we might enjoy the liberties of our country. Their firecracker is the sound of a distant rifle while we enjoy our hamburgers, tacos, and hot dogs. It’s all possible to gather as a community and celebrate because of their ongoing sacrifices.
Their sacrifice parallels Jesus’. Jesus Christ made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could be free. He entered a fight he didn’t start on behalf of rebellious people who didn’t want him. He loves the unlovely and gave truth to people who used lies for their gain. Then in a final act of pure love, he gave his life to be executed as a prisoner for crimes we committed.
A couple of weeks ago Dusty used this passage as a main text for his sermon:
Galatians 5:13-15: “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.”
The law of freedom is love for each other. As you gather with your friends and family this week, remember the sacrifice of our men and women in service and more importantly the ultimate sacrifice of Christ. Put the arguing aside, check your biases, and walk across the street and make a new friend. Because of Christ we are free. Free to love.