Next Wednesday is the Fourth of July — Independence Day. We celebrate with barbecues and fireworks — but how often do we take the time to stop and consider the gift of freedom? How often do we take the time to think about what freedom is or what it means to you? Is it just freedom from rules? Is it just “freedom to do whatever you want?” For the first colonists, what was important to them was freedom FROM rule by the British authorities — but also freedom TO determine their own destiny.
And people have come here from all over the world — seeking freedom. For some it was freedom to worship; for others it was freedom from persecution. For some it was freedom from want, for they fled famine and poverty in their own country. For others, it was freedom of opportunity, for they sought an opportunity to thrive here. But people have always come to this country seeking freedom of one kind or another. For some it has been easy; for others it has been a difficult journey.
Freedom is both a gift — and a responsibility. That is true of us as citizens — but it is also true of us as followers of Jesus. For Jesus also, in his death and resurrection, gives us a kind of freedom. It is freedom from our captivity to sin and death, and freedom to — live a new life, life in him, a life centered in God and in others, especially those who need us most.
Let us celebrate BOTH kinds of freedom on July 4th — the freedom we have in this country, and the freedom we have as followers of Jesus, as children of God. The second one — is the higher freedom.