Monday, July 4, 2016

Independence, Today and Every Day

Before we get too lost in our Independence Day cook-outs, our pool parties, our fireworks displays, let us remember the document that launched us on this path.

How long has it been since you read the Declaration of Independence?  Every year on Independence Day, National Public Radio airs a reading of this important document.  Go here to hear the reading and to read along, or simply to read it for yourself.

I am always struck by the importance of these ideas, still, two and a half centuries later.  The outlining of the King's abuses, sadly, still seem relevant, especially as we consider political situations across the globe.

I think about what those signers of the Declaration tried to accomplish--how far we have come, how close we are to those goals, how we've surpassed them, the progress we still have to make.  I think about people in our country who still suffer all sorts of oppression.  In the early part of this century, a commentator said that it's never been easier to own a slave, and he was talking about our country too.

I also think about people across the globe who struggle to achieve the kinds of freedoms that so many of us in industrialized nations take for granted.  It's a clichĂ©, to be sure, but it's important to remember.

History reminds us that those liberties can fairly easily be taken away, and most of us will never blink an eye--at least until it's too late.  We live in precarious times--perhaps we always live in precarious times, but I'm more aware of it this year, with terrorist actions and the Brexit vote.

But let me not get bogged down in fears.  Instead, let me be inspired by those men who signed the Declaration of Independence on this day in 1776.  They pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, so great was their belief in what they were doing.  It's a good day to think about our commitments, our values, what we hold most true.

Of course, it's always a good day to do that--let me always be trying to live a life that's in sync with my truest values.  Let me always be ready to stake my sacred honor on principles that are that important.

Today let us pray for those who are oppressed by tyranny of any kind.  Let us pledge allegiance to our God who sets us free.

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