Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Declaring Freedom

Yesterday I made copies of the Declaration of Independence.  As I gave out granola bars and fruit, I said, "I have granola bars, I have fruit, I have copies of the Declaration of Independence--all you need to get your holiday week-end started out right."

A few students took a copy, which made me happy.  But even if few people took my hint and my handout, I'm glad that I could be there to remind us all that there's more to Independence Day than having the day off, than wearing patriotic colors, than having a cookout or enjoying fireworks (or comforting our pets and PSTD sufferers who do not enjoy fireworks).

I think we often forget what these founding parents risked as they launched this fight. I think we forget that the odds were stacked against them. I love these stories of the fight for justice. And to my friends who would tell me of the imperfections of the American story, I would concede some points. But to me, the important thing is that we continue to try to get it right. We continue to try to set free the oppressed and to keep the lamps of liberty lit. We acknowledge the times we've gotten it all frightfully wrong (slavery, the genocide of the Native Americans), but we keep trying to get it right. I see Independence Day as an interesting point where Liberation Theology meets politics and revolution and the world will never be the same.

Today is a great day to 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.

Here's an interesting thing to ponder on this Independence Day: for what would you be willing to pledge your life, your fortune, and your sacred honor?

Today let us say prayers of thanks for those who have done the hard work of fighting for liberties of all sorts.  Let us pray for those who are still oppressed.  Let us pledge allegiance to our God who sets us free.

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